LAHORE: Finally after almost 12 years, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Thursday got its biomechanics laboratory accredited with the International Cricket Council (ICC).

“The biomechanics lab at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) has been accredited by the International Cricket Council as a testing centre for suspected illegal bowling actions, becoming the first such facility in Pakistan,” said the press release issued by the PCB on Thursday.

“The centre joins the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane, Loughborough University, Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai and the University of Pretoria as testing centres for players reported in international cricket under the ICC Suspect Illegal Bowling Action Regulation.”

The project was initiated during the tenure of former PCB chairman Dr Nasim Ashraf in 2007-08, with many ups and downs.

However, after the lab was acquired from England back in 2008, it remained dysfunctional. It seemed the PCB had no vision to utilise the lab despite it faced problems due to the suspect bowling action of star Pakistan fast bowler of that time — Shoaib Akhtar.

As the tenures of PCB chiefs Ijaz Butt (2008-11) and Zaka Ashraf (2011-13, Jan-Feb 2014) ended, the first stint of Najam Sethi (June 2013-Jan 2014) also passed with no visible development on the installation of the lab.

Though a building structure was built during Zaka’s tenure at the NCA to install the machinery there, the work on it stopped midway, and as a result the ambitious project remained in the doldrums.

However, Shaharyar M. Khan who took charge as PCB chairman in May 2014, showed seriousness and installed the machinery at LUMS in 2016. And now the ICC after testing of the operations of the lab for three years issued it the accreditation.

“The facility will be used for biomechanics analysis of players at various levels with an aim of improving their performances and ironing out technical deficiencies,” said the PCB in its statement.

“The testing centre will also help the PCB in identifying and fixing illegal bowling actions for players reported in both domestic and international cricket,” it added.

“The facility at LUMS was assessed against a range of criteria, including having an indoor area large enough to allow a player to bowl off his or her full run-up; a motion analysis system with a minimum of 12 high-speed cameras capable of producing three-dimensional data, and suitably qualified personnel experienced in using such systems and capable of implementing the ICC testing protocol.

“The ICC has provided a full set of testing equipment and software to the LUMS testing centre, as it has done with the other accredited centres, to allow for a consistent assessment of bowlers across the different facilities worldwide.”

Meanwhile commenting on the lab accreditation, PCB managing director Wasim Khan said the facility in Lahore could also be used for players from other countries.

“The lab will also be available to players from around the world and we will work closely with the ICC to make the facility readily available for testing of suspect bowling actions. The facility won’t be restricted for bowling actions only and players at all levels can sort out their technical deficiencies through biomechanical analysis under the supervision of coaches and experts.”

ICC’s general manager cricket Geoff Allardice on the development, said: “I want to congratulate the Pakistan Cricket Board, which worked in conjunction with LUMS to fulfil the criteria required for an ICC-accredited testing centre. This reflects PCB’s effort and commitment to deal with suspect bowling actions.”

Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2019