Pakistan v England, 2nd Test, Faisalabad November 19, 2005

Woolmer criticises ICC bowling regulations



Shoaib Malik undergoes tests on his action in December 2004 © Getty Images

Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach, has called the ICC's current process of reporting a bowler's action unsatisfactory.

Speaking to reporters on the eve of the second Test between Pakistan and England in Faisalabad, Woolmer said, "It's not a satisfactory process at the moment. A player can go to the biomechanics lab, spend time there, be cleared, come back to the field and be called again immediately."

Shabbir Ahmed and Shoaib Malik were both reported for suspect actions immediately after the Multan Test. Shabbir has now been reported four times in his career, and was reported during the tour to the West Indies earlier this year. Under new ICC regulations in place from March this year, this is the second time he has been called: if his action is found to be outside the allowed parameters, he will face a year-long suspension.

After Shabbir was reported in the Caribbean, Woolmer spent his own personal time working on the bowler's action. His results were then sent to the University of Western Australia's biomechanics department where it was deemed to be legal. After the ICC came to the same conclusion, he was allowed to resume his career, and with five wickets in the Multan Test, played a crucial part in securing the win. As a result, Shabbir is unlikely to play the second Test.

Malik, meanwhile, has been reported three times in his career now, although under the new regulations, this is his first transgression. But Woolmer felt his case also needed further clarification. "We need a little bit more clarification on Shoaib's case because according to the report he was spotted for only one delivery in the match. I just feel that the process has to be looked at again." The development, said Woolmer, is unlikely to stop Malik from bowling in Faisalabad. "He is very much part of our attack."

Woolmer's criticism of the current process is understandable, given the context. In the recent past, as well as Shabbir and Malik, a number of other Pakistani bowlers have been reported, including Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Hafeez. But Woolmer denied the reports tainted the result in any way. "It didn't take the gloss off the victory but it took our minds off it for a while."

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

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