Mohammad Hafeez will not be allowed to bowl in the Pakistan Super League, after the league decided to follow the ICC standards on playing conditions. Even though the PSL is a domestic tournament, Hafeez, who is currently serving a 12-month bowling ban, cannot apply for a reassessment of his action until his suspension ends.
According to the ICC policy, any player who is banned from bowling in internationals is allowed to bowl in domestic competitions, provided he has the consent of his home board, and remains under observation. Though Hafeez continued to bowl regularly in domestic cricket after his ban, the PSL has decided to stick with the ICC's ruling.
"The rules we are following are from the highest standard and we decided to stick with the ICC's ruling against any player," the PSL management told ESPNcricinfo. "We understand that Mohammad Hafeez is presently banned and we will endorse the ICC's decision and carry it in the league.
"On the draft day before the players were picked, we were intimated that Hafeez was named as a batsman only as his bowling action was banned by the ICC. We are sticking with that. The team who picked him agreed before hand they were taking him only as a batsman. The rules were already cleared before the final pick and it was mutually agreed."
Hafeez's bowling action was reported during the final of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy between SNGPL and United Bank Limited in Karachi, with several of his deliveries suspected to be beyond the 15-degree limit. The case was instantly sent to the PCB's illegal technical committee headed by Ali Zia. According the PCB policy, Hafeez then had to undergo remedial work on his action to convince the committee that he could be allowed to bowl in the tournament again.
Hafeez, 35, had undergone testing at an ICC-accredited lab in Chennai on July 6 last year, after his action was reported following the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle in June. The tests revealed that his action exceeded the permitted 15-degree limit. He had earlier been reported for a suspect action after the Abu Dhabi Test against New Zealand in November 2014.
Hafeez was initially drafted in the Platinum category of the PSL draft, but was later demoted to the Diamond category after no team picked him in the top bracket. He was eventually taken by Peshawar Zalmi for $70,000. Zalmi confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that they had picked Hafeez purely as a batsman. "I picked him as a batsman," Zalmi's head coach Mohammad Akram said. "I know he has the ability to win games and it would have been a bonus if he was allowed to bowl but we will have to respect the authorities and rules of the game."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson