South Africa news March 1, 2016

Phangiso's bowling action found illegal

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Moonda: South Africa not giving up on Phangiso

South Africa spinner Aaron Phangiso's bowling action has been determined as illegal, following independent tests conducted at the University of Pretoria's High Performance Centre, an ICC accredited laboratory. The assessment revealed that all of Phangiso's deliveries exceeded the permissible 15-degree limit.

In accordance with the CSA Regulations for the Review of Bowlers Reported with Suspected Illegal Bowling Actions, Phangiso has been suspended from bowling in domestic cricket, with the board also confirming that the bowler will not be selected for the first two home T20Is against Australia, starting March 4. Phangiso will, however, remain with the squad to work alongside South Africa's spin bowling coach Claude Henderson and CSA's high performance manager Vinnie Barnes in an effort to remedy his action.

Phangiso's chances of being retained in the squad for the World Twenty20 in India hinge on a second round of independent tests next week.

"The timing of this issue for Aaron and for our World T20 squad is clearly inopportune but we need to deal with it. We will work hard to remedy Aaron's action and have him retested as soon as practically possible," Haroon Lorgat, CSA's chief executive, said. "We are fortunate to have an ICC accredited Laboratory in South Africa and this will certainly make a quick turnaround possible."

Phangiso had been reported for a suspect action following his team Lions' win against Warriors in the semi-final of the Momentum One Day Cup. It was the third time this year that Phangiso had made headlines for the wrong reasons.

In January, it emerged that Phangiso had been prevented from boarding an international flight following South Africa's ODI series win in India because he was drunk and disorderly, forcing CSA to subsequently hand him an unknown sanction. Last week, Phangiso had to apologise for being caught on camera pretending to sniff an unknown substance off his leg during a T20I against England at the Wanderers. Phangiso was in the dug out and his gesture took place when South Africa were batting. He said it was a lighthearted joke but understood that in a country with a drug problem, it was inappropriate

Should Phangiso fail to make the squad for the World T20, South Africa's selectors have time till March 8 to find another back-up spinner for Imran Tahir. Eddie Leie, the likeliest replacement for Phangiso, suffered a hamstring injury during the Momentum Cup final and was forced to leave the field.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andy_S. on March 4, 2016, 1:50 GMT

    Kane Williamson was "grounded" because of his action. Those of you who make comment about the fast bowlers are correct...Malinga is by far and away the worst in the World and yet he is still permitted to bowl with his action. Tait is another. If these bowlers have physical disabilities that prevent them from getting their arm vertical, they are unfit to play cricket at the highest level.

  • Rowayton on March 3, 2016, 8:54 GMT

    Actually Mervo, you are not right to say that spinners were thought to be immune from chucking. In the 50s Tony Lock of England and Jimmy Burke of Australia were both widely regarded as chuckers. Indeed, because of his bowling action, the latter was sometimes nicknamed Jimmy Jerk.

  • 2nd_Slip on March 3, 2016, 8:29 GMT

    Shamsi, Maharaj and Leie are all bowlers of the same quality as Phangiso, so is see no reason to press the panic button or to remedy his action only a couple of weeks before the T20 tournament starts.

  • Marabellaboy on March 2, 2016, 19:13 GMT

    The Book of New Cricket Definitions states: "Illegal Bowling Action" (a.k.a. Pelting and stoning) means "A Spin Bowler's Action". This phenomenon is only applicable to Leg Spin, Off Break, Doosra and Googly Bowlers. Pace Bowlers are never called for "Illegal Bowling Actions. Have a look at the Asia Cup bowlers and you will have to agree with the New Definition.

  • ArnieRoss on March 2, 2016, 11:44 GMT

    I strongly agree that a bowler should not reach the age of 31 without a problem and then suddenly be banned. It's unreasonable, cruel and a disgrace to cricket. I am not advocating chuckers be allowed to bowl. I'm saying that administrators have a responsibility to players to ensure that such issues are addressed early in a career. This sloppy and irresponsible approach is affecting lives and cricket results at all levels.

  • Ozcricketwriter on March 2, 2016, 7:05 GMT

    What a surprise that yet another spin bowler is found to be illegal. Fast bowlers are okay, under the current rules, but it looks like spin bowling is a dying art, being killed off by the ICC.

  • Kingkallis92 on March 2, 2016, 6:57 GMT

    I'm surprised at how little bluster has been raised by CSA (or the Sports Minister) over this? They're really going to let this blatant affront to transformation pass without an ostentatious press conference? Not even a hyperbolic statement?

  • MeTalHeD69 on March 2, 2016, 4:21 GMT

    @SSID and others complaining about the rule. Batsmen are reacting in their action. They have to provide their best guess as to what is coming hence they may bat how they wish. However there is no advantage to changing the way you hold your bat. There is when flexing greater than 15 degrees. In other words they have to draw the line somewhere. If they start chucking it is unfair to the other bowlers obeying the rules and it will make batting ridiculously hard because someone chucking can turn the ball square. As for testing, it is up to each player to behave responsibly hence they assume innocence before being proven guilty. Testing all bowlers also takes time and money so they call em when they see em.

  • izzidole on March 2, 2016, 2:14 GMT

    Phangiso's bowling action says it all. To the naked eye it is quite obvious that it is illegal. What is the outcome of all the wickets he has taken so far and the results of matches he has been involved in where his bowling action was deemed illegal? Can it be reversed? However the cricket boards of the country involved should be held responsible for selecting the player for international matches without prior clearance from the ICC.

  • Mervo on March 2, 2016, 1:32 GMT

    Originally the first 'chuckers' or 'pelters' were pace bowlers who bent their elbow, usually on their faster, 'effort' ball. One Australian and a WI bowler spring to mind in the 60's and 70's. Since then, coaching standards for pace bowlers have improved significantly and we rarely see this any more. Spin bowling was thought to be safe from pelting or throwing. However, as greater degrees of spin have been sought by these bowlers, including spin both ways (doosra), some have lapsed into throwing, rather than bowling. The lack of official scrutiny and umpires fears of being the whistle blower, for some years added to the problem by letting these illegal bowlers 'off'. Their coaches, from junior levels, need to focus on action legality in the same ways as pace bowlers are trained and have done so in their work.

    There is no place for illegal bowling actions in cricket. Bat size, weight and dimensions also need to be standardised.

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