DHARAMSALA, March 4: Pakistan's Shoaib Malik is worried his Test career may never blossom because of a question mark over his bowling action.

Malik is unlikely to bowl his off spin during the current test series in India after being reported in October for chucking.

Although new International Cricket Council (ICC) rules permit an elbow flex of up to 15 degrees since March 1, biomechanical tests are reported to have shown that Malik's action is still above permissible limits.

The issue is likely to go before the ICC bowling review committee. Malik, who copies the action of team mate Saqlain Mushtaq, is concerned that losing one aspect of his game could make it more difficult for him to find a regular test spot even though he has made his mark with his explosive batting.

He has played 93 one-dayers since debut in 1999-2000, scoring 2224 runs at an average of 31.77, including four hundreds, and taking 80 wickets. But he has played just eight tests since making his debut four years ago.

Malik says his problem is due to a shoulder fracture he suffered after colliding with team mate Shahid Afridi during a game in Lord's in 2001. "I can't stretch my right arm fully," he said in an informal chat with reporters on Friday.

"There is a piece of floating bone still there," said a downcast Malik, stretching both his arms to explain he cannot fully straighten his right arm. "Doctors have said if I have surgery, it will put me out of the game for at least six months.

"Even then they don't guarantee my shoulder will regain its strength." He said he aggravated the condition by not consulting an orthopaedic surgeon immediately, instead taking some traditional treatment in Pakistan on advice of then captain Moin Khan.

His shoulder gets very stiff if he sleeps on one side, and he has to do stretching exercises to regain full movement. However, Malik, 23, remained philosophical. "You can't play your entire life," he said. "There are several other things in life other than playing cricket." "If you remain mentally strong, you can get over such disappointments". -Reuters

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