LAHORE: The Inte­rnational Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday declared Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez’s bowling action as illegal and barred him from bowling with immediate effect.

However, giving the all-rounder an opportunity to rectify his bowling action, the ICC said it will not object if the bowler continues to play in domestic cricket with the consent of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

“The ICC has announced that an independent assessment has found the bowling act­ion of Hafeez to be illegal and, as such, the off-spinner has been suspended from bow­ling in international cric­ket with immediate effect.

“The assessment revealed that the majority of his deliveries exceeded the 15 degr­ees level of tolerance permitted under the regulations,” an ICC press release stated.

Dawn has learnt that during Hafeez’s bowling test held at the Loughborough University in the UK on Nov 1, the data of those twenty deliveries was scrutinised on the basis of which his bowling action was declared as suspect during the third One-day International against Sri Lanka last month at Abu Dhabi.

Among those twenty deliveries, the data of only four met the legal 15 degree requirement while the remaining 16 deliveries saw his arm bending from 17 degrees to 26 degrees.

“In accordance with Article 11.1 of the ICC Illegal Bowling Regulations, Hafeez’s international suspension will also be recognised and enforced by all National Cricket Federa­tions for domestic cricket events played in their own jurisdiction. However, pursuant to Article 11.5 of the regulations and with the consent of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Hafeez may be able to bowl in domestic cricket events played under the auspices of the PCB,” the ICC press release further stated.

“Hafeez was reported during the third One-Day International against Sri Lanka, which was played on October 18 in Abu Dhabi, and had undergone an independent assessment of his bowling action on Nov 1 at the Loughborough University.

“Hafeez can apply for a re-assessment after modifying his bowling action in accordance with clause 4.5 of the Regulations,” the ICC press release said.

Meanwhile, according to ICC rules, Hafeez can ask the world governing body of cricket for another test at any time. And in case of clearing the next test, if he will again be challenged and found having illegal action then he will face a 12 months ban.

This is the third time that Hafeez’s action has been declared illegal. He was first called in Nov 2014 during a Test series against New Zealand and his action was subsequently found to be illegal. Later, Hafeez remodeled his bowling action and was cleared in April 2015. But after just a couple of months, he was again banned and now this is the third time that he is facing a similar situation.

The 37-year-old Hafeez has played 50 Tests, 195 ODIs and 81 T20Is during his 14-year long international career.

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2017

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