Cleared by the biomechanic specialist December 21, 2006

Shabbir relieved as ICC lifts action ban

Cricinfo staff

Happy days are here again for Shabbir Ahmed © AFP

Shabbir Ahmed is once again eligible to play for Pakistan after the ICC lifted a year-long ban on him, imposed during the England tour to Pakistan last year. A report detailing the improvement in Shabbir's action had been sent to the ICC from the Universiity of Western Australia, after which the ban was lifted.

The ICC sent a notification to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) informing them that Shabbir could resume his international career with immediate effect. "The ordeal for me is finally over and I am very keen to try and fight my way back into the national team," Shabbir told reporters in Karachi where he is playing in the Twenty20 Cup for Multan Tigers. "I have faced a hard time in the period the ban was imposed on me. I felt hurt because I was banned only because two or three of my deliveries were reported by the umpires," he said.

Shabbir, who has taken 51 wickets in 10 Tests, was banned from playing international cricket on December 19, 2005. He was the first person to face such a suspension under the ICC's new legislation, which states that any bowler reported twice within a year can face a year out of the game.

'I felt hurt because I was banned only because two or three of my deliveries were reported by the umpires'

Professor Bruce Elliot, the biomechanic specialist it appointed to review Shabbir's action last mont, compiled the report. After forwarding it to the PCB, David Richardson, ICC General Manager, re-stated the ICC's policy in relation to suspected illegal bowling actions. "The findings of the report means that Shabbir can resume bowling in international cricket," said Richardson.

"But the effect of the report by Professor Elliott or any other report from a biomechanical expert cannot be to clear Shabbir without limitation in the future. Everyone needs to be aware that no bowlers are ever 'cleared' as they could simply revert to bad habits.

"All bowlers are subject to further reporting if the match officials are of the view that they have concerns about whether a delivery or deliveries conform to the laws of cricket when observed with the naked eye."

The report of Professor Elliott and his team at UWA concluded: "Ahmed should be congratulated on being able to modify the level of his elbow extension. However, both he and Pakistan cricket officials are encouraged to continue to monitor his delivery action to ensure it does not regress from a legality perspective."

If Shabbir is reported again, he will be suspended from bowling at international level until his action is reassessed.