Thatscricket - News - Akhtar hopes Aussie test will clear him

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Perth: Pakistan's controversial express bowler Shoaib Akhtar hopes human movement experts can prove chucking suspicions that have derailed his career are just an optical illusion.Akhtar will on Thursday begin a series of tests at the University of Western Australia's (UWA) School of Human Movement, which earlier proved to the International Cricket Council (ICC) that Sri Lankan spinner Muthiah Muralitharan's bowling arm was permanently bent 40 percent more than normal since birth.But whereas Muralitharan can't fully extend his arm, Akhtar has an abnormally high level of flexibility that forces his elbow to hyper extend during the delivery action, giving the impression he is throwing the ball.Akhtar spent time at the school during his last visit to Australia, when he was reported to the ICC by match referee John Reid, but did not undergo the full range of tests when former ICC chief Jagmohan Dalmiya cleared him to play in the One-day Internationals.UWA's professor Bruce Elliott, who conducted the video study on Muralitharan, said Akhtar's flexibility gave an optical illusion he was bending his arm.But Elliot was confident scientific evidence would clear the bowler's name once and for all, provided Akhtar reached full pace during the tests. "There is nothing in the laws that says you can't move from a hyper extended position back to a normal position," Elliott said on Wednesday."That's not a definition of throwing, what we have to show is that he doesn't extend his elbow during the delivery action." Elliott and his team will blend the fast bowler's physical measurement with high-speed footage, filmed at 200 frames per second, to prove his elbow movements do not breach ICC rules."By looking at that we can tell if there are any changes in the angles of the upper limb during the delivery action. "It's the exactly the same way we went about clearing Muralitharan."If the specialists are convinced he has a case he will stay back working with Australian fast bowling great Dennis Lillee and former WA coach Darryl Foster, to prepare for Pakistan's imminent tour of England, while undergoing more video tests.If they discover he must change his action, Lillee and Foster have four weeks to radically alter a bowling style Akhtar claims he has used his whole cricketing life.But Elliott said the major concern was not Akhtar's action, but his ability to reach 140kmh (85 mph) during the tests while he carried a quadriceps injury he suffered in New Zealand.But the man dubbed the "Rawalpindi Express," said he had no doubts he would bowl fast enough to satisfy the testers. "I'm perfect, I haven't been bowling for a couple of weeks but I'll be fine," he said."They want 140km, that's no worry, I'll be closer to 150." Akhtar remains upbeat that he will be able to clear his name once and for all but was less confident he could change his action if the ICC is not convinced by the findings of the latest tests."If there is any possibility to change my action after the medical tests, then I would love to do that. But I can't see any possibility." Akhtar's latest setback came in New Zealand last month when umpires reported his action to ICC referee Ranjan Madugalle.His bowling action was reviewed by a three-member home panel set up by Pakistan cricket authorities which included former Test pace bowler Mohsin Kamal, off spinner Ejaz Faqih and international player Iqbal Sikander.The panel will review Akhtar's action again after his return from Australia before submitting a report to the Pakistan Board. If he is reported again in first-class cricket, he faces a one-year ban from the sport.

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