Chuck­ing it in: Throw­ing a grey area – Pa­tel

Taranaki Daily News - - Sport - Bren­don Egan

The In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil’s (ICC) 15-de­gree flex limit for bowlers is dif­fi­cult to po­lice and has be­come prob­lem­atic, for­mer Black Caps Jee­tan Pa­tel and Chris Har­ris say.

The is­sue was dragged back into the spot­light yes­ter­day when New Zealand bats­man Ross Tay­lor ap­peared to ac­cuse vet­eran Pak­istan off­spin­ner Mo­ham­mad Hafeez of a sus­pect ac­tion in the Black Caps’ 47-run open­ing ODI vic­tory in Abu Dhabi.

Tay­lor, who top­scored with 80 in the win, made a pro­longed ges­ture with his right arm bent at 90 de­grees dur­ing Hafeez’s first over. He was clearly draw­ing ref­er­ence to the 38-year-old all­rounder’s ques­tion­able ac­tion, which has been ruled il­le­gal (be­yond the per­mit­ted flex of 15 de­grees) four times by the ICC. Hafeez was first re­ported al­most 14 years ago dur­ing an ODI tris­eries in Aus­tralia in 2005.

Since be­ing cleared for the fourth time by the ICC in April, Hafeez had bowled 19 overs in one test and six T20Is against Aus­tralia and New Zealand be­fore draw­ing at­ten­tion to his re­mod­elled ac­tion un­til now.

Off­spin­ner Pa­tel, who played for New Zealand be­tween 2005-17, be­lieved the ICC’s al­low­able 15 de­grees of flex had turned into a grey area of the law.

‘‘The bound­aries are get­ting pushed now. That’s what the rules al­low. The rules al­low the bound­aries to be pushed.

‘‘If you’re go­ing to al­low 15 de­grees, how you can tell what’s 15 and what’s 15.5 when you’re out in the mid­dle? There’s al­ways go­ing to be con­jec­ture.’’

For­mer Black Caps all­rounder Har­ris, a medium-pace bowler, agreed and said there were times through­out his in­ter­na­tional ca­reer he had con­cerns about a bowler’s ac­tion while bat­ting.

‘‘It’s a re­ally dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion and it’s very hard to mon­i­tor.

‘‘My un­der­stand­ing of it is, if it oc­ca­sion­ally goes be­yond 15 [de­grees], if it’s on the odd oc­ca­sion, that’s very hard to mon­i­tor. Where the prob­lem lies is if peo­ple feel it’s con­sis­tently above that 15-de­gree an­gle.’’

Pa­tel ques­tioned whether there could be greater tech­nol­ogy avail­able to the third um­pire and match ref­eree dur­ing matches to an­a­lyse bowlers’ ac­tions.

It was some­times dif­fi­cult to tell whether a bowler was slightly ex­tend­ing their el­bow flex above the 15-de­gree thresh­old, which made it tricky to gauge.

‘‘They’ve got Hawk-Eye and DRS [um­pire de­ci­sion re­view sys­tem] and all this tech­nol­ogy that can pro­vide you with al­most game-chang­ing de­ci­sions. Can they have that sort of tech­nol­ogy avail­able for when they’re play­ing games in terms of ac­tions?,’’ Pa­tel said. ‘‘One de­gree change, you wouldn’t be able to tell on TV, you wouldn’t be able to see in per­son, but you can ob­vi­ously see on a com­puter.’’

Both Pa­tel and Har­ris de­fended Tay­lor’s be­hav­iour, which an­gered Pak­istan cap­tain Sar­fraz Ahmed, who la­belled it ‘‘dis­grace­ful’’ and said it was the um­pires’ job to over­see.

They ar­gued it was out of char­ac­ter for the usu­ally mild­man­nered Tay­lor, who was clearly frus­trated Hafeez hadn’t been spo­ken to by the um­pires.

‘‘Some­times as a player if that de­ci­sion is not be­ing made you tend to want to make it more vis­i­ble to an um­pire or the of­fi­cial that there is some­thing go­ing on,’’ Pa­tel said.

‘‘That was prob­a­bly what Ross was do­ing. He was point­ing out the fact you prob­a­bly need to do some­thing about this now be­cause it’s get­ting silly.’’

Black Caps cap­tain Kane Wil­liamson, a part-time off­spin­ner, be­came the first New Zealand bowler to be sus­pended from bowl­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally in 2014, hav­ing been re­ported by the um­pires and match ref­eree dur­ing a test against the West Indies in Port of Spain. Wil­liamson was cleared to bowl five months later af­ter tests by hu­man move­ment spe­cial­ists at the ICC’s-ac­cred­ited cen­tre in Chen­nai, In­dia.

‘‘If you’re go­ing to al­low 15 de­grees, how you can tell what’s 15 and what’s 15.5?’’ Jee­tan Pa­tel

Pak­istan spin­ner Mo­ham­mad Hafeez was at the cen­tre of a throw­ing con­tro­versy in yes­ter­day’s one­day in­ter­na­tional.

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