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Botha's doosra ruled illegal by ICC

Alex Brown

May 12, 2009

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Mark Boucher congratulates Johan Botha on the wicket of Ian Bell, England v South Africa, 3rd ODI, The Oval, August 29, 2008
Johan Botha has been cleared to bowl at the World Twenty20 © Getty Images

Johan Botha, the South African vice-captain, has been given the green light to play in the World Twenty20 despite his doosra testing almost twice the legal elbow flexion limit. Botha's doosra was measured at 26.7 degrees by the ICC's appointed biomechanist, Bruce Elliott, and will be banned until the bowler can prove he can deliver "the other one" at a flexion limit of less than 15 degrees.

But the offspinner will be able to continue bowling at domestic and internatioinal level, after his offbreak (12.2 degrees) and arm-ball (11.1 degrees) measured within the ICC's parameters.

"I have been through the same thing before, where after a while (the doosra) was retested and then allowed to carry on with it," Botha told Cricinfo. "But for me it is just a great relief to be cleared at last and able to play for South Africa at the World Twenty20.

"With this kind of situation, you're 90% sure that you'll get through, but there is always that little bit of doubt until you finally receive the answer. I have not yet heard about the final results and the measurements, but I know they have said that I am not allowed to bowl the doosra at the moment."

Botha was reported by umpires Rudi Koertzen, Brian Jerling and Asoka de Silva after the fourth one-day international between South Africa and Australia for a suspect quicker ball and doosra. The spinner was subsequently tested at the University of Western Australia by Elliott; the same biomechanist who examined Botha's action when he was last cited in 2006.

Elliott has since submitted his report on Botha to the ICC, and recommended the bowler "review his own ... action on a regular basis to ensure his elbow flexion levels are minimized and kept within legal limits." Botha can submit himself for a re-assessment of the doosra after he has modified it in accordance with ICC guidelines.

Though happy to abide by the decision preventing him from bowling the doosra, Botha said he was still unsure as to the circumstances in which he was reported in the first place. He insisted he did not bowl the doosra in the Port Elizabeth match against Australia, and only once in the previous ODI in Cape Town.

"It has worked out like this now, so I have to carry on with what I have," he said. "That's fine. I haven't really used it much in the last year. I didn't bowl it at all in the game they called me."

Mickey Arthur, the South African coach, was enthused by Botha's availability for the World Twenty20. "He's made such great strides and become a vital cog in our one-day and T20 sides," Arthur told Cricinfo. "I think it's amazing. Him being back for us is great. The strides he's taken in terms of his one-day cricket has been fantastic and we want to see him going up and up all the time.

"Johan plays a vital role for us. Not only does he bowl and get through his overs fantastically well, he's also a crack fielder and he can bat. He's ideal for what we want."

Elliott, meanwhile, confirmed he would test the action of Pakistan spinner, Saeed Ajmal, at the UWA facilities on Thursday. Ajmal was reported by officials Asad Rauf, Billy Bowden, Zameer Haider and Nadeem Ghauri after the second ODI against Australia in Dubai last month. Like Botha, Ajmal also possesses a doosra in his bowling arsenal.

"I expect the test will be similar to that of Botha," Elliott said. "They have similar issues."

Alex Brown is deputy editor of Cricinfo

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