Sunil Narine was reported for suspected bowling action recently during the on-going Champions League T20 series. Narine is the fourth bowler to be reported during the tournament after Mohammed Hafeez and Adnan Rasool of Lahore Lions and Prenelan Subrayen of Dolphins. 15 bowlers have been reported in the last 10 years for suspect action. Pakistani bowler Saeed Ajmal has been banned by International Cricket Council (ICC) for suspect action.
So, are the cricketing boards and ICC getting tough with bowlers? Boom News’s show #Cricket-O-Mania discussed the topic with senior journalist Ayaz Memon and author Dilip D’souza.
“A 15 degree bend, while delivering the ball, is considered acceptable. Most of the bowlers pulled up for suspect action are off-spinners,” Memon said. He added that ICC has now empowered on-field umpires to take stringent action.
“The number (15 degrees) seem to have been picked up from the hat. Nobody seems to have any objection to the bowling action of Lasith Malinga. How come his side arm action is not considered illegal?” D’souza asked.
Memon had an answer: “ICC has taken a position that he (Malinga) has a slinging action, not a bent arm action. If the elbow is not bent at the time of delivery, it is not chucking.”
Ajmal, Memon added, was found to have 40 degree bend while bowling. “Not a single delivery by him seemed to have been legitimate,” Memon said.
Memon brought up another angle: “When batsmen can change stance and grip, why can’t bowlers be allowed some flex; that is an argument for another day. A lot corrective measures can be taken. Harbhajan Singh had a problem in the beginning of his career; he corrected it and got 400 wickets. A puritan like Bishen Singh Bedi says ban them; somebody like (Rahul) Dravid does not find it alarming.”
Both Memon and D’souza agreed that T20 cricket puts enormous pressure on bowlers. “If an bowler is hit for 4 sixes in a T20 match, his place in the other teams is also at risk,” Memon said.
While D’souza said batsmen should also be called for illegal action, Memon felt that it is time for administrators to take a call whether some form of flex is permissible for bowlers. “One batsman told me that Ajmal’s delivery was like a javelin thrown at me. Ajmal has promised to correct his action and come back within a year. Now, the feeling is that this pressure will force young bowlers to bowl the right way.”
(Image credit: CLT20)