Chucking saga continues July 15, 2005

Shabbir's action beyond permissible limit

Cricinfo staff

Shabbir Ahmed will need to remodel his action © AFP

Shabbir Ahmed, the Pakistan bowler, has been suspended from international cricket after an International Cricket Council (ICC) report sent to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) which said that his bowling action exceeds the permissible limit for straightening of the arm.

Dawn reported that Saleem Altaf, PCB director of cricket operations, announced that according to the ICC report, Shabbir straightens his elbow up to 27 degrees, while the ICC's permissible limit is 15. "The tests Ahmed underwent prove that his bowling action is beyond the tolerance limits of 15 degrees allowed at international level," Altaf told AFP. "Shabbir is an asset for us and we will fight his case. The two options available to us are that we can have a second opinion on his action or we can go to the bowling action review group to contest his case."

Unless his action is cleared, Shabbir will not be allowed to play in the England-Pakistan series this October. "I am very disappointed, but I will get my bowling action rectified and try my level best to be available for the home series against England," said Shabbir, quoted in Dawn. He also said that he had no information about the report. "I will see him [Altaf] on Friday and will follow the guidelines of the board in this connection."

Shabbir has been reported for a faulty action three times in his career, the most recent occasion being the first Test of Pakistan's tour of the West Indies in May 2005. He was reported by the umpires, David Shepherd, Darrell Hair, Basil Morgan - the TV umpire - and Ranjan Madugalle, the match referee. Shabbir, however, was allowed to bowl in the second Test of the series. He appeared before Dr Paul Hurrian, who is on the ICC panel, in England on June 11 on his way back to Pakistan from the West Indies.

According to the new rules introduced by the ICC in March 2005, bowlers are allowed to straighten their arms up to 15 degrees. If a bowler is reported by match officials for a suspect action, an ICC-appointed expert analyses the action. After the analysis, if the action is still found to be faulty, the bowler is immediately suspended. ICC rules state that a bowler will be banned for a year if he is reported twice within two years.

Inzamam-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, said that the PCB should be vigilant and solve this problem at the first-class level. He added that Shabbir had been bowling well and hoped that he would be available for the series against England. "We will make an effort to get him cleared as we did in the case of Shoaib Malik in the recent past," Inzamam said. "I do hope that Shabbir will be available for selection for the home series against England."