ICC yet to find lasting solution to Harbhajan~~s doosra

Published: Friday, May 6, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Harbhajan Singh's 'doosra' seems to have snared the International Cricket Council too, with game's world governing body unable to find a lasting solution to the issue of his suspect bowling action.

It was on March 20 this year that the Indian was reported, for the second time in three months, for suspect action while delivering the doosra -- a ball that leaves a right-handed batsman-- but the ICC is yet to appoint a panel to review his action.

It was the first case reported under the revamped illegal bowling review process that came into effect from March, and as per the guidelines the ICC was supposed to have reviewed the bowler's action within 21 days of receiving the report.

"We are working together with the BCCI to establish the best way forward in resolving the issue," ICC spokesperson Brendan McClements told PTI from London.

McClements said there was enough analysis of Harbhajan's action already available and as such ICC had to find new ways to deal with the particular case of Harbhajan.

BCCI President Ranbir Singh Mahendra had said yesterday that the Board had raised the same question to the ICC in a letter, which McClements confirmed having received.

"We have raised a genuine query. Harbhajan twice underwent the (review) process and we are ready that he goes through that for the third time also. But what more we have to do (for any doubts about his action to be removed)," Mahendra had said.

McClements said that the ICC was not under time pressure since India did not have playing commitments in the immediate future.

But he was unsure where the new rules stood with regard to a bowler under review for suspect action wishing to play in the English county championship or other first-class cricket.

"We are concerned only with the international games ... we will deal with it as and when the issue arises," McClements said, adding Harbhajan or the BCCI has not yet requested the ICC to allow him to play for any particular club.

A recent change in the bowling review rules, permitting all bowlers to straighten their arm upto 15 degrees at the point of delivery, might have complicated the matters.

Earlier, slow bowlers were allowed to flex their arm upto five and the fast bowlers upto 10 degrees.

ICC had maintained that this new limit was the point at which straightening becomes visible to naked eye, but Prof. Bruce Elliott, the Perth-based biomechanics expert who had worked with the ICC in the research on bowling actions, had said umpires on field could spot bending upto 10 degrees.

Incidentally, Harbhajan, between being reported in December in the second Test against Bangladesh and in March against Pakistan, was found by Elliott to straighten his arm while delivering the doosra upto 12 degrees.

McClements denied that the ICC had apprehensions over Harbhajan receiving a favourable report from the biomechanics expert again and, worse still, being reported once more thereafter. "It must be clear that no bowler is cleared for life," he said.

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