ICC endorse relaxation of chucking laws

Published: Saturday, February 5, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Melbourne:Cricket's governing body here endorsed recommendations to relax the game's contentious chucking laws for bowlers.

An ICC committee comprising former Test players and chaired by former India captain Sunil Gavaskar last November recommended a new rule allowing bowlers to straighten their arms by up to 15 degrees.

Under the new ruling almost all modern bowling actions would now be deemed legal.

A meeting of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Chief Executives' Committee Saturday formally approved proposals by the panel to overhaul the current system.

The ICC said the committee's decision would lead to changes in the testing, analysis and review procedures used at the international level to standardise and streamline the analysis of bowlers with suspected illegal actions.

The head body said the new regulations would deal with the reality established during the ICC research program that most bowlers were likely to straighten their arm to a level undetectable by the naked eye during the bowling action.

Among the new regulations, all bowlers will be 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.

There will also be the introduction of a shorter, independent review process under the central control of the ICC with immediate suspensions for bowlers found to have illegal actions.

The ICC will also ensure that the overhaul and standardisation of the bio-mechanical testing of bowlers are consistent in the way that they measure the degree of arm straightening in delivery.

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said he was expecting the radical overhaul to the chucking issue to offend some cricket purists, but that the new measures provided cricket with its best opportunity to deal with an issue that has beset the game for more than 60 years.

"This issue has afflicted the game for over 60 years. Try as it might, the sport has never properly come to terms with it," Speed said in a statement released after the Melbourne meeting.

"Every time it comes up there are emotional reactions from people around the world based on fear and ignorance and I've no doubt we will see them all again this time.

"The reality is that this new process provides the game with a sensible way forward to properly protect against people breaking the rules while providing every opportunity for players with illegal actions to remedy any problems and return to the game."

Changes to the process were initially proposed by an expert cricket panel comprising Aravinda de Silva, Angus Fraser, Michael Holding, Tony Lewis and Tim May along with the former South African vice-captain and now ICC general manager David Richardson.

The proposals were put before the ICC's Cricket Committee, comprising former international players and umpires and chaired by Gavaskar.

It was the Gavaskar-chaired panel which made the final recommendations to the ICC Chief Executives Committee after scrutinising the proposal and making some amendments to the process.

"These recommendations have come from people who have played the game at the highest level and who have a deep appreciation of the issues," Gavaskar said in a statement.

"While the scientific evidence presented made the case for changing the current bowling review process compelling, it is a cricketing decision, proposed by cricketers for cricketers.The changes should make the process quicker and fairer to all players and will promote consistency in the way in which reported bowlers' actions are dealt with."

The changes will come into effect on March 1 this year after the ICC addresses some minor drafting amendments that were identified in considering the proposed regulations.

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