Sri Lanka news August 24, 2014

SLC starts campaign to eradicate illegal actions


Sri Lanka Cricket has begun a campaign to stamp out bowlers with illegal actions from the domestic game. The drive, which includes schools, started a month ago and has brought encouraging results.

Umpires officiating in the ongoing Under-23 division I and 2 tournament were asked to report bowlers with suspect actions. Around 20-25 bowlers have been reported till date, the majority of them offspinners.

"This has been an ongoing issue with our cricket and we are now taking radical steps to eradicate this menace which is like a cancer spreading to all corners of the country," SLC umpires educator Tyron Wijewardene said. "Since we started to crack down on illegal bowling from last month there have been encouraging signs. Bowlers who have been reported once or called during a match have shown a big improvement."

The procedure for reporting of a bowler in Sri Lanka is slightly different to that of the ICC. "If a bowler is reported twice in succession he will be banned from bowling and referred to the SLC coaching department for remedial action," Wijewardene said. "Similarly if a bowler is called for chucking on three occasions in a match he will not be able to bowl until he is cleared by the coaching department."

The coaching department is headed by Jerome Jayaratne, a former fast bowler, and also has former Sri Lanka spinner Piyal Wijetunge supported by district coaches.

After a bowler is reported by the umpires and match referee, a copy of the report is handed either to the bowler or the team manager at the end of the match. The match referee's copy is sent to Wijewardene who subsequently updates what is called 'the Grid' and sends a copy each to the coaching department, the illegal bowling action review committee and to all the umpires and match referees officiating in the tournament.

The committee is headed by former national selector Shabir Asgerally and comprises former Sri Lanka fast bowler Graeme Labrooy and PR Paranavitana.

Wijewardene, who took up the position in April, said he has conducted workshops in Kandy, Kurunegala, Colombo and Galle in educating umpires on illegal bowling and held a workshop at Ananda College, Colombo for school coaches. He hopes to expand the campaign to Under-19 level prior to the start of the next schools season and later go to the grassroots level of Under-13.

"Provincial coaches have also been briefed to rectify suspect bowling actions rather than bring them all the way to Colombo," said Wijewardene, a former ICC international panel umpire and first-class cricketer.

"It's the fault of the system that from junior levels they don't detect a bowler's defective action early in their careers and correct it. These bowlers get exposed once they reach the Under-19, Under-17, provincial or national levels. We hope to completely eradicate this growing menace in the next two to three years."

The reporting and banning of Sri Lanka offspinner Sachithra Senanayake for an illegal action was the trigger for SLC's campaign. Senanayake was reported in May during the ODI series in England and has since been tested in Cardiff and undergone remedial action in Perth.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • udendra on August 27, 2014, 4:25 GMT

    Good move. But pls don't discourage unorthodox bowlers. They have been match-winners for us.

  • manjula on August 25, 2014, 14:25 GMT

    Good and bad. The good is to correct those bowlers before they go too far. Bad is that how are the umpires going rate someone similar to Murali. There is optical illusion with Murali's action. Those will be left out. At international level, there are valid technological testing, but in domestic level in SL there are none.

  • sachit on August 25, 2014, 8:05 GMT

    @nimalgamage one bad game and you are asking people to consider the place of Malinga? In the ONLY odi SL won against SA recently it was Malinga who picked up 4wickets and turned the game around. He did the same against England (bowled an impeccable penultimate over). Talk about short-memory spans.

  • Dummy4 on August 24, 2014, 14:11 GMT

    @nimalgamage, Kusal Pera is INJURED

  • Robert on August 24, 2014, 14:06 GMT

    Great move. Hopefully the authorities will start to crack down on those who deliberately push the boundaries of the rule to gain an advantage. It is after all quite obvious that bringing you arm over in a bent position allows bowlers to get their wrists in a position that would not be possible if the arm was straight. This is needed to bowl doosra's (or similar variation). Whilst the illegal part is straightening the arm (if bent) this clearly happens to everyone without any physical impairment. Testing probably wouldnt pick up these issues as bowlers who do this deliberately can just as easily bowler with less arm bend.

  • Adrian on August 24, 2014, 10:11 GMT

    I love the proactive approach Sri Lanka Cricket has taken. This is great for the integrity of the game. Begin at the school level. I wish my folks here in the West Indies follow suit and set up a similar system to eradicate illegal bowling actions.

  • Sinha on August 24, 2014, 10:01 GMT

    This is a very,very good move. The school level has a lot of young bowlers with dodgy actions and correcting them at that age is the best way to prevent future problems.

  • Dummy4 on August 24, 2014, 9:53 GMT

    I am glad SLBC finally doing something about it now. Why should legitimate bowler sacrifice his place in the team for someone who has illegal action and continue to pick up wickets and continue to play. If I get out for someone who has suspected action then it would not faire to cut short my career to accommodate who throw the bawl rather than bowling.

  • Garry on August 24, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    This is good and something all boards should be doing. The problem with Sri Lanka is their best ever bowler had an unusual action even though it was 100% legal I am sure everyone can agree that to the naked eye it did look suspicious. anyway my point bheing is that I am sure that there are 1000's of children that grew up trying to bowl like him and unless you are built like him in that your arm is also bend on release then you are simply going to straighten the arm on release if you are trying to copy his action.

  • Dummy4 on August 24, 2014, 9:20 GMT

    Great move forward, however, I hope this does not discourage unorthodox actions which SL definitely has an advantage over in, compared to other nations.

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