Chucking controversy January 21, 2006

Shabbir's 12-month ban upheld

Cricinfo staff

Shabbir Ahmed now faces an uncertain future © Getty Images
The Pakistan pace bowler, Shabbir Ahmed, has had his 12-month ban for an illegal bowling action upheld by an independent bowling review (BRG) group in Dubai. The decision of the BRG is final and binding, and means Shabbir becomes the first player to be banned from bowling in international cricket for 12 months under the revised bowling review regulations.

Shabbir was reported following the first Test against England, at Multan, in November and then underwent laboratory tests to compare his action to previous footage. It was the fourth time in his career that Shabbir had been reported for a suspect action, and the second within 12 months.

The BRG was chaired by Sir Oliver Popplewell and included Javagal Srinath, the former India seam bowler, and Roshan Mahanama, a current match referee. Dick French, a former international umpire, and Dr Marc Portus, who is a specialist in human movement, made up the group.

In its judgment, handed to Shabbir and the PCB chief executive, Salim Altaf, the BRG said: "We have decided that the player had an illegal bowling action and that the suspension of the player is to be maintained. This is the unanimous view of the BRG.

"While it is clear that a laboratory test can never fully replicate match conditions the regulations provide for match conditions to be simulated as best as possible. We take the view that the laboratory test was carried out as fairly and properly as it should be."

The BRG was asked to consider video evidence and the match officials' report from the Multan Test in which Shabbir's action was reported. Professor Bruce Elliott, who conducted the independent biomechanical assessment of Shabbir, then presented the findings of his report and responded to questions from Shabbir and the BRG.

Following this, the PCB produced its own evidence, including recent video footage of Shabbir bowling at the PCB Academy and in a domestic match. The members of the BRG then met privately to consider the matter before delivering their unanimous decision.

The amended regulations, introduced in March 2005, stipulate that a player who is found to have been bowling with an illegal action twice within two years will face an automatic 12-month suspension from international cricket.