South Africa's preparations for next month's Women's World T20 have been struck a major blow after offspinner Raisibe Ntozakhe was found to have an illegal bowling action and was suspended from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect. The ICC made the announcement on the same day that Ntozakhe was named in South Africa's squad of 15 for the tournament.
Ntozakhe was reported during the ODI against West Indies on September 16 in Barbados and had undergone an independent assessment of her bowling action on September 28 at the University of Pretoria. The assessment revealed that all of her deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted under the regulations.
In accordance with ICC regulations, Ntozakhe's international suspension will also be recognised and enforced by all National Cricket Federations for domestic cricket events played in their own jurisdiction. However, she may still be able to bowl in domestic cricket events played under the auspices of Cricket South Africa, and can apply for a re-assessment after modifying her bowling action.
CSA has taken immediate steps to work with Ntozakhe's remodelling of her action, and she will be based at the CSA Centre of Excellence, working with High Performance manager Vincent Barnes.*
"The timing of this issue for Raisibe and for our World T20 squad is clearly inopportune but we need to deal with it," CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe said. "We will work hard to remedy her action and have her retested as soon as practically possible. We are fortunate to have invested in an ICC accredited laboratory in South Africa and this will certainly make a quick turnaround possible."
South Africa's national selection panel is mulling possible replacement options for the Women's World T20, and an announcement is expected to be made shortly. Should CSA name a replacement player prior to the start of the Women's World T20 support period on 2 November 2018, it will not require approval from the Event Technical Committee.
0900 GMT, Oct 10 - The article was updated with CSA's response to the situation
Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town