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Major boost for Pakistan ahead of World Cup 2019 as Mohammad Hafeez’ bowling action cleared

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The International Cricket Council (ICC) has declared the bowling action of leading Pakistan’s off-spinner, Mohammad Hafeez as legal, paving way for the cricketer to resume bowling in international cricket.

Hafeez underwent a scrutiny about his bowling action on April 17 at the Loughborough University, in East Midlands of England, where it was revealed that the amount of elbow extension in his bowling action was within the prescribed 15-degree level of tolerance allowed under the ICC Illegal Bowling injunctions.

Though Hafeez, who is dubbed ‘professor’ of Pakistani squad has been given go-ahead to display bowling skills in the international cricket, the match officials are still allowed to report Hafeez in future if they suspect any discrepancy in the action. Moreover, the officials will also be handed over images and video footage of the bowler’s revised legal bowling action.

The addition of ‘professor’ would instill in the team, a fresh vigor to take on rivals in the upcoming contests. The star Cricketer took to Twitter and thanked his fans for the ICC’s approval of his action.

Mohammad Hafeez has been facing the ire of cricket council for multiple times owing to his suspected bowling action, however, the fresh ban was imposed after his action was found suspicious during an ODI against Sri Lanka in November 2017.

Historically, the 37-year-old cricketer was first suspended from bowling in December 2014 after the match officials found his action to be illegal during a Test series, a month earlier. Hafeez strove hard and improved his action, following which he underwent an inspection and was given green signal to resume bowling in April 2015.

The permission proved to be short-timed as the off-spinner was suspended after three months, in July. The all-rounder was barred from bowling for 12 months this time. Hafeez embarked on to remold his action for one more time and was re-assessed; he was permitted to resume bowling in November 2016.

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The latest ban on the bowler was imposed after the match officials found Hafeez’ bowling action doubtful during the Abu Dhabi ODI against Sri Lanka in 2017. In February, the all-rounder had urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to change its rules for ensuring that ‘doosra’ (type of deceptive delivery) remains part of the sport.

Hafeez mentioned Pakistan’s all-time favorite spinners including Saeed Ajmal and Saqlain Mushtaq, asking ICC to review its rules. The list of Pakistani bowlers with suspected action is not too long, but interestingly, the bowlers who were reported, were all A-listers.

Though Hafeez, who is dubbed ‘professor’ of Pakistani squad has been given go-ahead to display bowling skills in the international cricket, the match officials are still allowed to report Hafeez in future if they suspect any discrepancy in the action.

Pakistan’s speed star Shoaib Akhter was banned from bowling for a short while in 1999. He revised his action but sports commentators kept on casting aspirations about his style of bowling. Another right-arm pacer, Muhammad Shabbir was reported in 1999, 2004 and then twice in 2005. His action was proved to be illegal and in 2005, he was banned for a year. He returned in December 2006, however, his cricketing career soon ended.

The most noticeable cricketer with suspected action was Saeed Ajmal whose action raised doubts, especially regarding his doosra. Ajmal was reported while bowling against Sri Lanka in August 2014 and was banned the next month.

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Saqlain Mushtaq worked hard with the spinner following which he was cleared just a week before the World Cup 2015, however, he could not take part in the tournament. He resumed his bowling in April 2015, but failed to show his magic following which he announced retirement in 2017.

The clearance of Hafeez’ bowling action is a major boost for the Pakistani team ahead of the mega show of cricket, the World Cup 2019. Although no official schedule has been laid out, reports confirm that Pakistan would be facing cricketing giants in the tournament, especially India on June 16 in Manchester, England.

The all-rounder was barred from bowling for 12 months this time. Hafeez embarked on to remold his action for one more time and was re-assessed; he was permitted to resume bowling in November 2016.

Hafeez’ come back would be of prominence in the sense that Pakistan relies heavily on its bowling for overpowering rivals and spinners play a pivotal part in restricting the competitor, scoreless runs or fail to achieve the target set by crumbling Pakistani batting line up.

Moreover, Hafeez is also of many advantages to the team because he is an opening batsman and manages to give a better start to the innings. Currently, Pakistan has many options in the spinning line-up, from Shadab Khan to Shoaib Malik and Hussain Talat, however, no one seems to match Hafeez when it comes to experience and class.

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The addition of ‘professor’ would instill in the team, a fresh vigor to take on rivals in the upcoming contests. The star Cricketer took to Twitter and thanked his fans for the ICC’s approval of his action.


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