DUBAI: Cricket’s global governing body Monday justified its crackdown on bowlers with illegal actions, vowing to only allow unorthodox deliveries like the ‘doosra’ within the rules. The International Cricket Council (ICC) in its major drive to root out the problem of illegal deliveries suspended high profile bowlers like Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal, Sri Lanka’s Sachitra Senanayake, Zimbabwe’s Prosper Utseya and Bangladesh’s Sohag Gazi in the last four months.
New Zealand’s part-timer Kane Williamson was also suspended in this period while Bangladesh’s medium pacer Al-Amin Hossain was reported for suspect action.
Under the ICC rules bowlers are permitted to straighten their bowling arm up to 15 degrees, which has been established as the point at which any straightening will become visible to the naked eye.
ICC chief executive David Richardson said rules must be followed.
“The principle has always been to make sure that we try and stick to the law which says that you must bowl the ball and not throw it,” Richardson told reporters at ICC headquarters in Dubai.
Richardson said the majority of stakeholders do not agree on bending the rule to allow off-spinners like Ajmal to bowl the doosra, a controversial delivery which turns the other way than a normal off-spin.
“We had that debate that should we allow a change in the law, to allow them to straighten their arm to bowl the doosra, there were arguments but majority said ‘no’ and said stick to the law.
“If you want to promote the unorthodoxy then there are people in the history of the game like Johnny Gleeson (Australian spinner of 1967-72) who suddenly learnt how to spin the ball with his fingers, there are legitimate ways you can do something special without changing the principle, so we hopefully encourage the unorthodox action or deliveries but within the rules.”
Richardson denied Ajmal was targeted.
“There was no question of penalising bowlers from some countries. The best thing in our cricket committee is that there are players from around the world in it who are doing everything for the good of the game and I don’t think there was any kind of underhand motive.”
“The game as a whole has a problem, bowlers have been reported from a range of countries New Zealand, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and I don’t think any country will be spared if they got bowlers with suspect actions.”
Richardson also refused to accept the timing of the crackdown, with the World Cup in February-March next year, was wrong.
“If something is wrong with the game why should we wait till after the World Cup,” said Richardson of the event to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
“We reached the stage where there were just too many bowlers starting to emerge (with suspect actions) that people were starting to worry about, its arguable that we could have taken this kind of action earlier, so we realised that we must draw the line sooner (rather) than later.”