ICC pads away new tolerance levels rules

Published: Sunday, April 3, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Australian biomechanics expert Bruce Elliott has revealed fresh information that questions the basis of International Cricket Council's revamped Illegal Bowling Review process.

The ICC early this year approved changes in regulations dealing with suspect actions, and one of them was to relax the permissible level of straightening in a bowler's arm upto 15 degrees.

The game's world governing body claimed that this was the point at which straightening becomes visible to naked eye but Elliott said umpires on the field could see bending of much less degree.

Elliott also confirmed what has been spoken in hushed tones, that the new limit was adopted so as to allow majority of contemporary bowlers whose actions were suspect.

"The umpire can observe movements of 10-15 deg. The 15 deg was selected as it appeared to permit most bowlers, the great majority who have NOT been called, to continue bowling," Elliott told PTI to a query by e-mail.

Asked specifically if there was any chance that straightening of less degree could be visible to the naked eye, Elliott said, "I think you can see 10 deg but not five deg."

Elliott is a Professor of Biomechanics at the University of Western Australia and has been involved with research conducted by the ICC into bowling actions.

His expert opinion assumes significance in the backdrop of Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh being reported for suspect action while delivering the 'doosra' during the second Test against Pakistan last month.

It was third time Harbhajan was being reported in his career, but more crucially within four months of second reporting and in the very first Test after he was reviewed.

The ICC, when contacted, stood by its new regulation, which it said was based on recommendations made by an expert panel comprising former Test players -- Tim May, Aravinda de Silva, Angus Fraser, Tony Lewis and Michael Holding.

"This recommendation (to permit straightening upto 15 degree) came form an expert panel, not a single individual's opinion," ICC spokesperson Brendan McClements said.

"I am not able to comment on Elliott's comments ... but it was clear that the panel made their recommendation to Sunil Gavaskar's committee (of the ICC) that 15 degrees was the appropriate level as this was the point at which it became visible to the naked eye. This was based on expert advice.

"If Professor Elliott has a different view, he has a different view but this was not the opinion formed by the various expert committee that considered and recommended this level," he said.

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