The chucking controversy November 17, 2005

Shabbir and Malik reported for suspect bowling actions

Cricinfo staff

Despite undergoing such elaborate testing, Shoaib Malik finds his action reported yet again © Getty Images
Shabbir Ahmed and Shoaib Malik, the Pakistan bowlers, have both been reported for suspect illegal bowling actions after the conclusion of Pakistan's opening Test match against England at Multan.

Both bowlers were reported by Billy Bowden and Simon Taufel, the on-field officials, and Asad Rauf, the TV umpire. Regarding Shabbir, Bowden and Taufel felt satisfied when watching him bowl in the nets as well as the early stages of the match. However, both claimed they noticed a deterioration in his bowling action from the third day of the match - in particular when bowling the "effort" ball and short pitched deliveries - which they suspected may be illegal. Bowden and Taufel also expressed concern that they could see extension in the elbow while Malik was bowling with a "stop and prop" method of delivery.

Both bowlers have been called for suspect actions before - Shabbir was reported after only his first one-day game back in 1999, and Malik's action was last reported in October 2004. Shabbir was only recently permitted by the ICC to bowl again, after being reported in the West Indies in May. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) then arranged for Shabbir to undergo corrective work, and a biomedical analysis of his action was submitted to the University of Western Australia in September. Scientists found Shabbir's action to be within the ICC's prescribed 15 degree level of tolerance and confirmed that there had been a marked improvement, but not without suggesting areas of probable concern. It seems this issue has resurfaced, in just his first Test in six months.

According to Roshan Mahanama, the ICC Match referee, both Shabbir and Malik will be permitted to play international cricket pending the outcome of independent biomechanical analysis. "Both players have been reported in the past," Mahanama said in an official media release, "and while it has been shown that in laboratory conditions they are capable of bowling within the legal limits, the match officials had concerns with the actions they used during certain stages of this match when viewing their actions with the naked eye.

"This has led the team of officials to request the ICC to commission biomechanical reports into their actions in accordance with the new process introduced earlier this year." These biomechanical reports will fall under the jurisdiction of the ICC's revised bowling review process that was introduced in March 2005. Mahanama informed both the ICC and the Pakistan team management of the report, as per the ICC regulations governing the reporting process.

The last time he was called, in October 2004, the ICC's new process was yet to be introduced, and thus his action fell outside the permitted limits. But, following remedial work, further analysis commissioned by the PCB identified an improvement in his action. If Malik is found to be bowling with an illegal action he will be suspended from bowling in international cricket immediately. He then has the option of applying to the ICC for a re-assessment of his bowling action at any time in order to return to bowling in international cricket.

Both bowlers will now undergo independent analysis of their actions by a member of the ICC's panel of human movement specialists. This analysis involves a detailed comparison between the action of the bowler in the laboratory and the action he used in the match in which he was reported. This will take place as soon as practically possible, and within a maximum period of 21 days from receipt by the PCB of formal notice of the reports by the ICC. Within 14 days of the independent analysis being carried out, the appointed specialist will supply the ICC with written reports advising the outcome of the bio-mechanical assessments.

As for Shabbir and Malik, they will be allowed to play international cricket - including the next Test against England - should they be selected. At any time during this period they are subject to being called on the field in accordance with the ICC's laws.