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ICC to focus on suspect actions

Calcutta: The International Cricket Council (ICC)’s cricket committee has stated that the methods currently used to detect illegal bowling actions were inadequate.

The committee, which discussed the issue during a two-day meeting in Bangalore on June 3 and 4, said that numerous international bowlers with “suspect” actions were continuing to bowl undetected, and hence it was important that match officials get support from biomechanists to identify the illegal actions with “more confidence”.

“The committee discussed the issue of illegal bowling actions, and believed that there are a number of bowlers currently employing suspect actions in international cricket, and that the ICC’s reporting and testing procedures are not adequately scrutinising these bowlers,” the ICC said in a release.

“It recommended that changes be considered to encourage umpires and referees to identify suspect bowlers with greater confidence, to use the expertise of the biomechanists working in this area to assume a greater role during the assessment process, and to allow for ongoing scrutiny of bowlers once they have been identified under the ICC procedures.”

The ICC cricket committee makes recommendations on cricket playing issues to the chief executives’ committee (CEC) and, if it is a policy matter, the ICC board for approval.

Both the CEC and the ICC board are scheduled to meet during the ICC annual conference week in Melbourne from June 22-28.

Former India captain Anil Kumble is the chairman of the cricket committee.

“Members of the committee were also updated on the project to increase the number of illegal action testing centres around the cricketing world…” the ICC said.

The issue of illegal bowling action came to the fore recently when Sri Lankan off spinner Sachithra Senanayake was reported for using an illegal action during the series against England.

Bowlers with suspect actions are currently required to attend ICC approved biomechanics laboratory tests to assess the amount of elbow extension (flex). In 2004, the ICC set a 15-degree limit on this extension.

“They (the committee) also received an update on the project to measure illegal actions in a match environment using wearable sensor technology,” the ICC stated.

The following are the other major issues discussed by the committee:

The committee expects players to observe the Spirit of Cricket at all times, but it also believes that a non-striker should be deterred from leaving the crease before the time the bowler normally delivers the ball. It did not support a formal warning being introduced prior to a bowler being eligible to run out a non-striker, but it did support the view expressed by most captains that the umpires shouldn’t ask the captain whether he wanted the appeal to stand before making a final decision.

The committee noted a sharp increase in the number of sixes hit in ODIs over the past six months. The MCC reported on some of its research into developments in cricket bat design. The committee will be keeping a close watch on the performance of cricket bats moving forward. In the short term, the committee was of the strong view that venues must be set-up to their maximum boundary dimensions.

An increase in the number of reports made under the Code of Conduct during 2013-14, and encouraged umpires to continue to take strong action when player behaviour crossed acceptable boundaries.