Mohammad Hafeez, the Pakistan allrounder who bowls offspin, has been suspended from bowling in international cricket after he failed a test on his action conducted at an ICC accredited centre in Loughborough, England. The analysis, an ICC statement said, found the flex in his action exceeds the 15-degree limit for all deliveries.
Hafeez had first been reported while playing for Lahore Lions during the Champions League T20, but that sanction did not apply to international cricket. He was reported again after the first Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi in November.
He will be allowed to bowl in internationals again only once his action, post correction, is reassessed by the ICC. In the interim, he can continue to bowl in domestic cricket as per the PCB's instructions. According to ICC regulations, if a player who has been reassessed and cleared is reported a second time, within two years of the date of commencement of the first suspension, he or she will then receive a minimum suspension of one year, and can apply once more for reassessment only after sitting out a year.
Several international offspinners, including Sri Lanka's Sachithra Senanayake, New Zealand's Kane Williamson, Zimbabwe's Prosper Utseya and Bangladesh's Sohag Gazi have received suspensions for illegal actions this year. Hafeez is the second Pakistan offspinner to be suspended in the last three months, Saeed Ajmal being the other. Remodelling of Ajmal's action is well underway at the moment, with positive signs at two unofficial reassessments - his doosra remains the only ball delivered illegally, his second unofficial test in Loughborough determined, and he is hopeful of being ready in time to play the 2015 World Cup in February-March.
The immediate effect of Hafeez's suspension will be felt when Pakistan take on New Zealand in a five-match ODI series, in the UAE, from Monday. Pakistan team manager and chief selector Moin Khan said it could also affect World Cup preparations. "It's a setback for us," Moin was quoted as saying by AFP. "Hafeez's suspension can affect our preparations for the World Cup, but we have no doubt over his ability as a batsman and he will play [against New Zealand] on Monday."
After he was reported in November, Hafeez had said he will not let the scrutiny on his bowling get to him too much, saying he had never viewed himself as much of bowler and would continue to focus on his batting instead. He had also said there should not be a "pick-and-choose" method to identify bowlers with suspect actions in international cricket and all bowlers should undergo testing.