Pakistan will once more have the complete services of allrounder Mohammad Hafeez at their disposal, after his rejigged bowling action was cleared by the ICC.
Hafeez, 37, was reported for a suspect action during an ODI against Sri Lanka in October, with an assessment at Loughborough University finding his action illegal - the third time that had happened in his career.
After working on his action over the past few months, Hafeez was tested again at Loughborough University a fortnight ago, and the results today declared his bowling action to be legal once more. "The International Cricket Council (ICC) today announced that following remedial work and re-assessment, the bowling action of Pakistan's Mohammad Hafeez has been found to be legal, and the off-spinner can now resume bowling in international cricket," said the ICC, in a statement issued on their official website.
It will come as a major boost to Pakistan, who had relied heavily on Hafeez's all-round game in the months leading up to his action being found illegal, rising to the top of the T20I rankings, and winning the Champions Trophy in June last year.
Hafeez's bowling was crucial in allowing Pakistan to field attacking bowling line-ups with more wicket-taking options without compromising on their batting depth.
Hafeez had enlisted the services of spin bowling consultant Carl Crowe, who also worked with West Indies spinner Sunil Narine on his action. He had also helped Hafeez overturn a one-year ban the second time he was reported. Hafeez also worked with biomechanics specialist Dr Paul Herron in England in December. He failed an unofficial test at a laboratory at LUMS university in Lahore days before the start of the Pakistan Super League - albeit very narrowly. But he did not bowl during the PSL.
Hafeez's problems with his bowling action go back a long way. He was first reported 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, Hafeez was banned from bowling for 12 months.
He returned to bowling after his ban and cleared a bowling test in 2016, before the issue arose again leading to his current suspension.