The chucking controversy June 21, 2005

PCB to suggest changes in dealing with suspect bowlers

Cricinfo staff

Shabbir Ahmed's action is again under the scanner © Getty Images

The Pakistan board plans to forward its recommendations to the International Cricket Council to remove ambiguities from the current laws concerning suspect bowling actions in the wake of Shabbir Ahmed, their medium pacer, being reported. Saleem Altaf, the board's director of cricket operations, said that the report, which will be presented to the ICC in its annual meeting in London on June 24, was prepared after Shabbir was reported during the first Test against the West Indies at Barbados.

"We feel that the existing law has some ambiguities in it which need to be clarified or removed to make the law more effective," Altaf told The News, a Pakistan-based daily. He went on to enumerate the ambiguities in the current laws: "The law [24.3] states that the umpires have the authority to report a bowler and also no-ball him during a match if they feel that the naked eye shows the bowler is exceeding the ICC limit. But it's not clear that [what happens] if the umpires report a bowler for a suspect action and he continues playing for the duration of the 21 days - the time ICC gives to member countries to correct his action. Can they still no-ball the same bowler? And if this can be done by the umpires than what is the purpose of the 21-day rectification period."

However, Shabbir, who would be remodelling his faulty action after undergoing tests in England, played in the second Test. But the umpires did warn the team management that he would be no-balled if found exceeding the 15-degree tolerance level. Altaf also said that the law should assist the bowlers with suspect action rather than making it difficult for them.

Besides, Altaf added that the Pakistan board would also push for appointment of neutral umpires in one-day matches. "We want the present system of having a home umpire and a ICC umpire in a ODI replaced by having two neutral umpires in one-dayers," said Altaf. "The cricket committee's argument that having only neutral umpires would stunt the growth of home umpires who would not get an opportunity to stand in international matches. But our suggestion is that the ICC, to meet this eventuality, should expand the international panel of umpires which would also reduce the workload on existing umpires."