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South African offspinner Johan Botha has been reported for a suspected illegal bowling action by match officials after the fourth ODI against Australia in Port Elizabeth. Botha will undergo a bio-mechanical assessment of his action, but is eligible to play international cricket at the discretion of Cricket South Africa (CSA) while the test results are pending.
The report was filed by the three umpires officiating Monday's one-dayer - South Africans Brian Jerling and Rudi Koertzen, and Sri Lanka's Asoka de Silva - who cited concerns over Botha's quicker ball and doosra. Botha will be tested within 21 days after CSA receives a formal notice from the ICC.
Gerald Majola, the CSA chief executive, said the development was disappointing for the team but hoped Botha would complete the ICC process in time for the World Twenty20 in June. "It's very disappointing for the team, especially considering his performance over the recent past," Majola told Cricinfo. "But there's nothing we can do. We will follow the procedure laid down by the ICC. Hopefully, he will be cleared before the World Twenty20."
The appointed specialist will report to the ICC with the result of the bio-mechanical assessment within 14 days of the test. If the action is found to be illegal, Botha will be suspended from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect. He would have the option of applying to the ICC for a re-assessment of his action at any time.
Botha's action was previously reported after his Test debut against Australia at the SCG in January, 2006. He was suspended from bowling the following month when testing confirmed the illegality of his action. In September 2006, Botha's action was once again found to be illegal even after he had worked on it. He then corrected his action, which was deemed legal upon re-testing, and he resumed playing international cricket in the 2007 Afro-Asia Cup.
"I have put a lot of work into my action," Botha said during the recent one-day series in Australia. "It probably took 10 months from my first test to the one I passed. I still have (the doosra), but I probably don't bowl it as much as I used to. Definitely, it is possible to bowl it legally.
"My doosra actually tested lower than my off spinner for elbow extension. I think my doosra was at 9 per cent, and my offie was at 11 per cent, which are both well below the limit. With the doosra, your wrist cocks to a point where it is actually harder to extend your elbow. I just use it better than I did in the past."