Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has called into question the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) process for reporting suspect bowling actions.
Hafeez, who was suspended from bowling in international cricket for the third time last year and was finally cleared to bowl two weeks ago, has raised doubts about the process calling it “suspicious”.
“There are so many things influencing [who gets called for suspect actions], it has a lot to do with the power of [some] boards and nobody wants to take them on,” Hafeez told BBC Urdu. “Mostly there are soft corners and relations between people which no one wants to spoil. What I say is why not implement the rule and get every bowler in the world to go through [the testing process]. What’s the difficulty in that?”
The all-rounder said he was surprised when he found out that the degree of flex in his bowling action was only marginally above the 15-degree limit.
“When match umpires called me [for a suspect bowling action], I went for my test only to find the flex was recorded up to 16, 17 and 18 degrees,” Hafeez said. “I was surprised: how can anyone with the naked eye see flex from 15 to 16, and at times they are not able to call those whose flex is 25 and even 30-plus.
“So I have my doubts about this [calling system]. This is suspicious, why are match referees or on-field umpires not able to see those flexing up to 35 but me with 16 degrees?” he questioned.
On April 17, Hafeez underwent a re-assessment of his bowling action at the Loughborough University where it was revealed that the amount of elbow extension in his bowling action was within the 15-degree level of tolerance permitted under the ICC Illegal Bowling Regulations.
Hafeez was first suspended from bowling in December 2014 after he was reported in November 2014 during a Test series. Following remedial work on his bowling action, he was re-assessed and permitted to resume bowling in April 2015.
The off-spinner was then suspended from bowling in July 2015 for 12 months following a second suspension within 24 months. He was re-assessed and permitted to resume bowling in November 2016.
He was reported for the third time during the Abu Dhabi ODI against Sri Lanka in October 2017, and was subsequently suspended from bowling in November 2017.