ICC annual conference 2014 June 25, 2014

Illegal bowling action process under review


Illegal bowling action procedures for international matches will be reviewed, with the potential for suspect bowlers to be monitored more closely even after they have passed the round of biomechanical testing currently required.

The ICC chief executives committee meeting in Melbourne as part of the governing body's annual conference, recommended that ICC management review the current process for reporting, assessing and clearing suspect bowling actions, while also suggesting that wider powers may need to be applied to allow the monitoring of suspect actions beyond the end of formal testing.

"The message out of the cricket committee was there's enough bowlers with suspect actions that should be being scrutinised, that probably haven't been," Geoff Allardice, ICC general manager of cricket, said. "By scrutinised, it just means they're being tested whenever there are concerns raised. At this stage, it's been pretty quiet for a couple of years. The cricket committee was of the view there are some bowlers operating with suspect actions that should be scrutinised a bit more closely."

Recommendations from the review may include ongoing screening for bowlers who pass their initial biomechanical tests after being reported, and more rigorous reporting processes. "Also whether it's possible to get a panel of experts involved, who are able to detect from looking at footage what is elbow extension and what isn't," Allardice said. "We'll review procedures over the next three months and then come back to the chief executives in October with some recommendations about modifications to the procedures to make sure they're doing the job for the game."

Two days of CEC meetings focused primarily upon the settling of greater detail over the range of FTP agreements signed bilaterally for 2015 to 2023, binding all nations to play each other over the period in some contrast to recent years, when India, England and Australia have increasingly erred on the side of lucrative touring between the three nations to the exclusion of others.

"Obviously the more commercially attractive opponents play each other a bit more frequently, but I think there was a genuine respect amongst the members that they wanted to try and include everyone in their schedules," Allardice said. "From that point of view, there is a good balance between the formats.

"There is definitely a focus on Test cricket and trying to make sure it is promoted and played in the different countries, and the Test competition and the rankings have integrity through everyone playing everyone else."

Commitments to play the likes of Bangladesh will result in some creative scheduling, with at least one top-end series likely for Australia over the period, a concept last used in 2008. "The timing of series is one thing that has been sorted out in that both teams are available to play at the same time," Allardice said. "The content that's agreed within the countries in that space has still got to be thrashed out over the next couple of weeks."

Also discussed in some depth were concerns over the balance between bat and ball in recent times, as leaps forward in bat technology and shrinking boundaries have allowed batsmen to become even more dominant than they had been over the preceding decade, particularly in limited-overs formats. Allardice said that maximum possible boundary dimensions would be enforced far more rigorously, while bats would also be monitored.

"[Boundary size] is in the playing conditions at the moment but it will be something we remind the various countries about leading up to the cricket over the next few months," he said. "Match referees will be checking to see whether grounds are set-up to the maximum possible boundary size.

"At the moment the maximum is 90 yards, but with the way bats are performing these days and the way the batsmen are hitting the ball, sometimes mis-hits are carrying for six, and there is concern that balance is a bit skewed at the moment. The immediate step is let's do what we can with boundary sizes, but we'll be keeping an eye on bat technology closely over the next couple of years ... across all formats."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on June 28, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    @Chandramouli.G,the largest ground by playing area is The Gaddafi Stadium and the Second largest is the Kensington Oval.So do away with the ropes,use the whole of the playing surface available and bring fielders with very strong arms.Another suggestion is to have very fit batsmen who may have to run all run fours and maybe the odd five.Another plus is that the batting averages of batsmen may rise.

  • Chandamouli on June 28, 2014, 6:35 GMT

    Just for my Knowledge : Which is the Largest Cricket Stadium* by Playing Area? Is it the MCG, surely not Wankhede!!

    *Exclusive of Capacity of Crowd - Only playing area!!!]

    But surely, there should be a fixed Diameter for the grounds, and the maximum Area possible should be used. So, NO pulling in of boundary ropes!!!

    CATCHES WIN MATCHES!! But where is the place for fielders to take The Catches when Ropes are pulled in?!?

    A 60mts Six in Wankhede, does not even carry to a fielder in MCG!

  • John on June 27, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    @Prem2248 ,with regard to your comments,in days gone by 2 fast bowler's were thrown out of the game by umpires over 50 year's ago and who had no recourse to modern technology only the naked eye.Therefore if it is good enough 50 years ago then surely it is good enough now,when the umpires verdict should be final.When was the last bowler ejected from the game for throwing as opposed to being reported for a suspect action,and then allowed with minimal correction to return to International Cricket,but on the field of play they still look extremely suspect to say the least.Another point I would like to make to @ fkhawaja,as an Englishman this is not a conspiracy against Sub Continent teams just an opinion that throwing has to banned from the game wherever the source comes from,after all a well regulated cheat free game is surely all that we supporter's for which ever team we follow is what is required.

  • Nimmie on June 27, 2014, 13:57 GMT

    Before straightening, bending has to be taken place. A fast bowler of normal action is proved to have made their arm bent more than a spinner does (close to 15 degrees).Many a number of fast bowler of extremely fast bowling actions of yesteryear could have gone undetected, it was only the spinners and the fast bowlers of very clear chucking action were penalised.

  • rob on June 27, 2014, 7:48 GMT

    AvmanM: Your idea takes out 2 of the most beautiful shots in the game. The delicate late cut and the equally delightful little leg glance. The best idea is to play the game on decent sized grounds. If a top edge still goes for six, so be it, but you'll find a lot of these guys suddenly getting caught in the deep.

  • John on June 26, 2014, 16:23 GMT

    @bobmartin,I agree with your comment's about previous generations of Test Match Bowlers.I'm old enough to remember Ian Meckiff and Geoff Griffen being thrown out if you excuse the pun,of the game for throwing.I do agree that this was more than 50 Years ago but surely if the bowlers cannot bowl within the laws of cricket they should surely be banned irrespective of who they are.I would also like to comment about the size of the playing arena,surely if there is grass then the whole of the grassed area should be the designated the field of play,with no rope,this in theory speeds up the game because unless the ball reaches the fence for a boundary to be signaled,there will be no need for the third umpire to be involved about did the fielder touch the rope while in contact with the ball.As for the size of Bats,I have stated many times before,the modern day bats seem to be a waste of time and money when the Top 12 Test Match Batsmen in the averages retired many years ago

  • Dummy4 on June 26, 2014, 10:39 GMT

    In Sri Lanka's tour of Australia, the on field mike picked up Arjuna Ranatunga instructing Murali to bowl leg breaks which are considered to be impossible to "throw" but the leg umpire called him even when he did so. Interpret that how you will. Murali's case has to be treated as exceptional due to the natural deformity of his arms. He has even proved his "innocence" by bowling with a cast. However, many of today's bowlers do" in my mind" have suspicious actions, especially those who have exaggerated pauses in their delivery stride just before delivering the ball. Murali never bowled with an exaggerated pause in his delivery stride. It beggars belief that any bowler could "bowl" from a stand still position without flexing his elbow. This is an unfair advantage and has to be addressed by ICC. The bowlers should not be allowed to "pause" in their delivery stride, but should deliver with a smooth approach and release. Agree totally about monitoring the boundaries and bat width/weight.

  • Chandamouli on June 26, 2014, 10:01 GMT

    Just for my Knowledge : Which is the Largest Cricket Stadium* by Playing Area? Is it the MCG, surely not Wankhede!!

    *Exclusive of Capacity of Crowd - Only playing area!!!

    But surely, there should be a fixed Diameter for the grounds, and the maximum Area possible should be used. So, NO pulling in of boundary ropes!!!

    CATCHES WIN MATCHES!! But where is the place for fielders to take The Catches when Ropes are pulled in?!?

    A 60mts Six in Wankhede, does not even carry to a fielder in MCG!

  • James on June 26, 2014, 7:54 GMT

    Prem2248 and fkhawaja, it is comments like yours that I am referring to when I mention pointless distractions from the actual issue at and. This has nothing to do with your team being victimised or people wanting to change the rules. It is about enforcing rules that make the game what it is,the same rules that have effectively been around for over a century. There is no evidence whatsoever that England or Australia are doing anything different now to what they have been doing all along: consistently practicing what they preach. These countries have insisted all along that the doosra and associated deliveries is not legal, and have been firm in managing this IN THEIR OWN COUNTRIES and without exception. There is no evidence for any change of policy whatsoever. Take a leaf from NZ and accept these administrative procedures with grace and good humour.

  • Muhammad Abbas on June 26, 2014, 7:13 GMT

    Wel wel wel if and only if this is implemented as it is then half of current Sri Lankan bowlers including fast(though all are medium) will be out and more than lot who are willing to bowl for sri lanka in clubs and domestic circle will be never be able to make it to international cricket.

    I only wonder about those wickets and bowlers who have already created unbreakable records with such illegal deliveries will be considered themselves extremely lucky but justice would be that all those records should be considered null and void. I am not against anyone but when we are living in era of 36Cameras covering and DRS and all this technology and cricketers paid in millions things should be as pure as it gets.

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