THE failure of senior all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez to clear a second biomechanics test over his bowling action in Chennai has come as the latest blow to Pakistan’s preparations for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup beginning in Australia and New Zealand next month.
Hafeez, who had failed his first biomechanics test in Loughborough, England, in November after being reported by umpires in the first Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi, could not consistently measure up to the ICC’s permissible limit of 15 degrees set for bowlers and has now been definitely ruled out as a bowling option for Pakistan.
However, he still remains in contention for World Cup selection purely as a batsman due to his rich experience in the game.
With ace spinner Saeed Ajmal already having been ruled out of the World Cup for a similar offence last year, Pakistan’s spin bowling resources for the World Cup appear considerably depleted.
Most critics have pointed to the short-sightedness of the Pakistan Cricket Board in the Hafeez saga as they say that the all-rounder should have been withdrawn from the New Zealand Test and ODI series after being reported by the umpires and sent to an academy for correction.
They further argue it was injudicious to send Hafeez to India instead of making arrangements for his test and training at the best-equipped biomechanics lab in Brisbane, Australia.
There’s no doubt that Pakistan will direly miss the bowling services of Hafeez as he has taken over 120 wickets in this form of the game and has been instrumental in many a victory for his team.
In all likelihood, it will be left to veteran all-rounder Shahid Afridi, leg-spinner Yasir Shah and rookie Haris Sohail to share the major burden as spin bowlers in the World Cup.
The World Cup is likely to be the swansong for a number of stalwarts and it is imperative for the PCB to do all things right to make it memorable for the departing players.
Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2015