The 37-year old allrounder has been cited for an illegal action three times in his career, most recently in October 2017. He has since worked on reducing the flex of his elbow below the 15-degree limit and was cleared to bowl again on May 1.
Nevertheless, Hafeez was cynical about the ICC system currently in place, suggesting that the power of certain cricket boards came into the picture and questioning how on-field umpires could spot the tiniest errors in a bowler's delivery. He told BBC Urdu that the results of his testing in Loughborough showed that he flexed his elbow only a couple of degrees over the acceptable limit of 15. "So I have my doubts about this calling system. This is suspicious, why are match referees or on-field umpires not able to see those flexing up to 35, but me with 16 degrees."
The PCB did not seem concerned when Haffeez's comments were first aired, but now that the ICC has taken notice, they have given Hafeez seven days to explain himself and have also barred him from speaking to the media. Being a centrally contracted player, he may face sanctions ranging from a reprimand to monetary fines to match suspensions.
In a separate, but similar incident, batsman Umar Akmal was banned for three games after he alleged to the press that Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur had used abusive language towards him. He was also slapped with a hefty fine of 1 million Pakistan rupees and had the no-objection certificates that he needed to participate in overseas leagues revoked for two months.
Hafeez was first reported for his bowling action over 13 years ago during an ODI tri-series in Australia in 2005. Regulations concerning illegal actions were different back then and he soon returned. In 2014, his action was reported during the Champions League T20, and then again following a Test match against New Zealand later that year. Having twice been found over the legal limit for elbow extension in that short period, Hafeez was banned from bowling for 12 months. He after undergoing remedial work on his action once again, only for this latest episode to restart the cycle.
Over the years Hafeez has always been sceptical after being reported for his action, often remaining adamant about any flaw in his action.