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Andrew Fidel Fernando
July 15, 2014
Sri Lanka Cricket remained confident that their spinner Sachithra Senanayake's action could be remedied, and that he could be reintroduced to international cricket before the World Cup, despite a harsh biomechanical assessment. There has also been displeasure in some parts of Sri Lanka's cricket establishment about Senanayake's testing procedure.
SLC's cricket committee met on Monday to discuss the route forward for Senanayake, but will not arrive at any concrete decisions until the biomechanical report has been unpacked in full over the next few days.
That report states Senanayake exceeded the 15-degree elbow flexion threshold on all analysed deliveries - even those in which the biomechanical experts were not satisfied that Senanayake was bowling with the same action observed in the match in which he was reported. In the two overs Senanayake delivered with the action which the experts felt "more closely resembled the match action", the bowler was found to be flexing his elbow between 36 and 43 degrees.
That would seem to be a severe indictment on Senanayake's action. However, a report on the testing procedure from spin bowling coach Piyal Wijetunge, who had accompanied Senanayake to the test, said Senanayake had been put under immense pressure from the co-ordinators of the test. There have also been suggestions that Senanayake was effectively asked to flex his elbow more than he ordinarily would, in order to adhere to the experts' view of what his action looked like in the match he was reported.
SLC and Senanayake have the option of lodging a notice with the ICC within 14 days, in order to request a hearing with a Bowling Review Group (BRG). A BRG usually includes a human-movement specialist, a former player, a former umpire, a current match referee and two ICC officials.
However, despite some complaints about the manner in which the test was performed, early indications from SLC are that the board is keen to eschew the appeals process, in order to put Senanayake into remedial work as soon as possible. The board has appeared to target the seven-match ODI series against England in November and December as an opportunity to reintroduce Senanayake.
"We will have to begin remedial action immediately," SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga told Sunday Times. "First he will be seconded to the coaching department where he will undergo the initial work on his action. Only thereafter would we request the ICC to assess his action once again at one of their facilities."
Senanayake will have to be cleared in another biomechanical test before he can bowl again in internationals, but SLC will also be wary of rushing him back to the top level before significant changes have been made to his action. If in the next two years Senanayake plays internationals again, and is then reported and found to be breaching the ICC playing conditions in another round of testing, he will be banned for one year.
SLC, however, is confident of the effectiveness of their remedial process and appear assured the bowler will be playing for Sri Lanka again shortly. Senanayake had undergone remedial work under coach Wijetunge in 2011 and had subsequently been cleared in a biomechanical test conducted at the University of Western Australia.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernandoFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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