|Harbhajan is ‘very disappointed’ with the ICC
Calcutta: India's most successful off-spinner, Harbhajan Singh, has reacted sharply to being put in the dock (over his action) for the second time in as many Tests by Match Referee Chris Broad and the umpires.
Broad, the International Cricket Council's (ICC's) man on the spot in the ongoing India versus Pakistan series, reported him after the second Test at the Eden.
Harbhajan claimed four wickets (two in each innings) in the Test won big by India.
The former England batsman had, of course, reported him last December as well, immediately after the Chittagong Test.
Harbhajan came under the scanner in 1998, too, and had to then 'work' with Fred Titmus in England.
In the opinion of Broad and the umpires ' Steve Bucknor, Darell Hair and A.V. Jayaprakash ' his action while bowling the doosra (the one which leaves the right-hander) exceeded the 15 degrees of 'permitted elbow straightening' in innings No. 2.
Now, that has to be confirmed.
The 15-degree allowance, incidentally, came into force as recently as March 1. Earlier, the ICC was more stringent, with the spinners being permitted five.
'Meri rozi roti pe haath dala ja raha hai' I can't understand how the Match Referee and umpires have concluded I didn't meet the requirements in the second innings,' a distinctly upset Harbhajan told The Telegraph on Monday afternoon.
Speaking on his cell (while in Bangalore), he added: 'It's only recently that Bruce Elliott, who is on the ICC's panel of biomechanic experts, gave a clean chit. How come my action has suddenly become illegal' I'm very disappointed with the ICC' Why am I being put under pressure'
The Perth-based Elliott came into the picture courtesy the Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI), which engaged him after the December 'complaint.'
[The BCCI, meanwhile, has announced it will 'support' Harbhajan. Hardly unexpected that.]
According to the regulations, the ICC is now going to arrange for an 'independent analysis' from its panel of biomechanic/human movement specialists.
The expert's appointment ' theoretically, Elliott could again be given the job ' will be made after a 'dialogue' with the BCCI.
This review process is to start as soon as the BCCI receives Broad's 'formal report' and copies of the Test tapes, which have been sealed and sent to London.
The expert has to complete his analysis inside three weeks and give his report (to the ICC) within a fortnight thereafter.
The entire process, therefore, should take five-six weeks. Till then, there's no bar on Harbhajan doing Team India duty.
The third and final Test starts in Bangalore on Thursday.
While insisting he wouldn't forget about the doosra till the review process got completed, Harbhajan fumed: 'Am I to be reviewed all my life' Having been around for seven years, I'm a senior' I know what's right and what isn't'
'If what the Match Referee and the umpires are saying is correct, then Elliott must have been wrong. If he remains right, then the match officials at the Eden got it wrong. Moreover, can the naked eye judge just how many degrees is the straightening'
Harbhajan, who barely stopped short of accusing the ICC of targeting him, wants answers.
Postscript: There are whispers that Broad 'acted' after Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer 'suggested' he and the umpires give Harbhajan's action a close look. Woolmer's reaction couldn't be got till late at night.
The following are the five key elements of the new regulations:
1. An acceptance that the focus of the Law concerning illegal actions is that it seeks to deal with the extension of the arm that is visible to the naked eye.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. The overhaul and standardisation of the bio-mechanical testing of bowlers to ensure that all tests in all laboratories are consistent in the way that they measure the degree of straightening.
5. Strengthening of the initiatives to deal with the issue at the international and regional Under-19 level.