Gazi could work with coaches who helped Razzak
The Bangladesh Cricket Board will try and give Sohag Gazi the same support to work on his action that was given to Abdur Razzak in 2008. Razzak was suspended in 2008 for an illegal action and had returned to international cricket three months later. The board's cricket operations committee chairman Akram Khan said that taking the help of foreign coaches and facilities are also on the cards to help the offspinner remodel his action.
Gazi was suspended from bowling in international cricket on Wednesday after his action was found to violate the ICC's 15-degree limit. He was reported for a suspect action by ICC match officials in August in the West Indies, and subsequent independent testing at an accredited facility revealed all of his deliveries were over the limit.
"He is an important player, particularly in Test cricket," Akram said. "We will try to correct him as soon as possible. We had experienced coaches working with Abdur Razzak when he had the problem in 2008-09. So we are hoping to do the same for Gazi. We will try to ask the coaches who worked with Razzak, to help Gazi. If needed, we will get more experienced people on board. We also have an opportunity to use facilities in Chennai.
"He is coming [to Dhaka] tomorrow, and we will discuss everything together. It is very difficult to say how long it will take for him to come back, but we will try our best. We have to take this matter very seriously. We will only send him for a final test when we are confirmed that he is clear. We cannot risk Gazi."
Former Bangladesh fielding coach Mohammad Salahuddin, who also worked as an analyst in the BCB High Performance Unit, worked with Razzak when he was suspended by the ICC on December 1, 2008. Salahuddin tried to contact Gazi immediately after he was reported in the second ODI against West Indies in August.
"The moment I read online that his action was reported, I told Sourav [Mominul Haque] that he should call me immediately," Salahuddin said. "I can help him as long as I get time off my current job. Ultimately, it is up to the bowler. He has to want it himself.
"Some bowlers sit and wonder whether they can bowl the same way with a changed action. If they can't bowl the same way, then there is no use changing the action, they feel. But one also has to consider how they feel and how hard it is to hold on to the same quality as a bowler."
Salahuddin was praised for his work with Razzak and is generally highly regarded by current Bangladesh cricketers. He offered hope to Gazi by drawing the example of Razzak, Bangladesh's only other bowler who was suspended for an illegal action and has been playing international cricket for the last five years.
"Judging by how quickly Abdur Razzak returned to international cricket, I feel that it [remodelling the action] is not too difficult," Salahuddin said. "He was such a determined bowler who really wanted to change his action, he had a lot of desire to return to international cricket. He took me to the BKSP in Khulna, and he used to bowl after normal training time in the Bangladesh team's nets, making sure he was doing the right things.
"Razzak's action was around 29 degrees when he was reported in 2008. I have his full report from that time. I think Sohag Gazi is in a similar situation so the challenge for him too should be similar. What also helped Razzak was that he had a problem in 2004 before the 2008 suspension. So he knew what was going to happen and what he was supposed to do."
Salahuddin worked with Gazi when he was coaching Sylhet Royals in the 2013 BPL. He said that it is understandable why only offspinners have been getting into trouble with the authorities. "Offspinners have to bowl a lot to right-handers against whom they don't want to be monotonous by just bringing the ball in. They try the other one, that either straightens or spins out.
"In the process of doing something different, they change their action a bit, then a bit more and without realising, they end up making changes in other parts of their action. Sometimes, what happens is that it takes their action right to the edge of chucking."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84