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Lack of clarity in CLT20 bowling-action policy

While CLT20 authorities say bowlers will have to be cleared by the BCCI's suspect bowling-action committee, the official website says the bowler will have to be cleared by the tournament's technical committee

Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Sunil Narine in his delivery stride, Kolkata Knight Riders v Perth Scorchers, CLT20, Group A, Hyderabad, September 24, 2014

Sunil Narine became the fourth offspinner to be warned in a week  •  BCCI

The Champions League T20's clampdown on bowlers with suspect actions is the first of its kind in six seasons of the tournament, with Kolkata Knight Riders' Sunil Narine becoming the latest to be warned in this year's event. While the officials have been given a free hand to report bowlers with suspect action, it is not yet clear whether the participating teams had been briefed specifically about the issue.
There had been no warnings over the qualifying stages of the tournament, but over the last week CLT20 match officials have reported four offspinners - Lahore Lions' Adnan Rasool and Mohammad Hafeez, Dolphins' Prenelan Subrayen, and Narine, the most successful bowler in the tournament's history.
The media releases issued by CLT20 authorities stated that all the bowlers have been put on a "warning list", and go on to mention: "Under the CLT20 Suspected Illegal Bowling Action policy, if a player receives a report while on the warning list, the player shall be suspended from bowling for the remainder of the tournament and from bowling in any matches organised by the BCCI until such date as he is cleared." The pre-tournament handbook given to teams which details playing conditions, however, contains no mention of a policy with regard to illegal actions.
CLT20 authorities informed ESPNcricinfo that if a player is reported twice during any of the BCCI-organised tournaments - CLT20 is one of them, despite Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa being stakeholders along with BCCI - he will have to be cleared by the BCCI suspect bowling action committee headed by former India captain and umpire S Venkataraghavan.
The tournament website, however, has a different ruling on suspect actions. "The on-field umpire will take action in the case of suspect bowling action. Once he has reported the matter, the player will be referred to the technical committee (made up of eminent members of the various boards) for corrective action," the official website of the tournament says. This is the only reference to the procedure for dealing with suspect bowling actions on the tournament's official website.
While the website says the technical committee will include members of various boards, it currently has three BCCI representatives, BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel, IPL Chief Operating Officer Sundar Raman and BCCI's general manager, cricket operations MV Sridhar. None of them was willing to go on record about the policy pertaining to illegal actions.
The CLT20 crackdown is in line with ICC's fresh impetus with regard to reporting and taking action against suspect actions. BCCI officials insist they are following their own rules, and say, off the record, that over the last three years the BCCI has given a free hand to all umpires and match referees to eliminate chuckers from the game.
BCCI insiders have also pointed out that the common factor in all the four reported cases has been that of ICC elite umpire Kumar Dharmasena, the winner of the ICC best umpire award.
In BCCI's other big T20 event, the IPL, so far there have been four cases of bowlers reported for suspect actions. In 2011 the IPL announced a four-member illegal bowling action committee, and its own suspect action policy came into place on February 1, 2014.
During this year's CLT20 pre-tournament briefing, umpires and match officials were told that they were free to report bowlers if they were convinced about the need to examine their bowling actions.
The bowlers warned during the CLT20s can continue to play elsewhere in the world except India. According to the new CLT20 policy, of which a detailed text is so far unavailable, the bowler will only be allowed to play again in BCCI-conducted matches after undergoing corrective procedures at the new centre in Chennai.
A CLT20 official said while the "intention" is to extend the policy to other countries to bring in uniformity, they can implement it only in India since despite the three stakeholders, "CLT20 is a domestic tournament governed by BCCI".

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo