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May 12, 2005
The International Cricket Council has called on the services of one of the world's leading cricket biomechanists, Marc Portus, to determine the legality of Harbhajan Singh's bowling action.
Harbhajan, who was reported to the ICC twice in the space of three months, recently lambasted the organisation for their handling of his case, adding that his "loss of mental peace" had contributed to his disappointing display in the recent one-day series against Pakistan, in which he picked up only three wickets in five games.
His action first came under scrutiny in 1998 before he was reported in December last year, on the tour of Bangladesh, and again in March during the series against Pakistan. "How many times [should] a bowler have to undergo the test, for which he has already been cleared?" Harbhajan asked. "I am playing international cricket for the last seven years and it is really frustrating."
Portus, who is based at the Australian Institute of Sport, will now undertake a biomechanical analysis of Harbhajan's action with a review of all relevant match and biomechanical footage. "In the case of Harbhajan, we are in the fortunate position of having a considerable library of material from the previous investigations that have taken place," said Malcolm Speed, the ICC's chief executive. "This material provides a starting point for the biomechanical analysis required under the ICC's process. This information and footage has now been made available to Mr Portus as he starts his own independent analysis of Harbhajan's action."
The ICC, however, has insisted that no player can ever be permanently cleared of having a suspect action, and referred to the case of Pakistan's Shoaib Malik, who makes his return as a bowler in today's one-day international at St Vincent.
"We are pleased to note that Shoaib appears to have made improvements to his action and that he was recorded as bowling within the levels of tolerance of elbow-extension as laid down in the ICC regulations," said Dave Richardson, ICC's general manager. "But there can be no guarantee that he will not be reported again should his action deteriorate."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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