Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez is set to undergo re-testing on his bowling action. Hafeez’s ICC ban for an illegal action expired earlier this month, meaning he is eligible for reassessment. He was suspended for 12 months after twice being found to be over the limit for elbow extension by independent assessors within a two-year period.
Hafeez, 35, is currently in England as part of Pakistan’s tour. Although a knee injury had delayed remedial work on his action, Pakistan are hopeful that he will be able to undergo a re-test at Loughborough after the completion of the second Test, in Manchester. His ban expired on July 17.
“Final decision on Mohammad Hafeez’s test on his bowling action in the ICC-accredited facility at Loughborough shall be taken in the next few days,” team manager, Intikhab Alam, said in a statement. “Since his recovery from the injury in the right knee that he sustained during the ICC World T20, Hafeez has recommenced remedial work on his bowling action.
“But owing to the time lost due to injury as well as his concentration on batting practice afterwards, Hafeez has not been able to devote adequate time to the remedial work. In the last couple of weeks however he has resumed working on it at the nets. Hafeez is confident that in the next few days he would be able to present himself for the test.”
Hafeez’s problems with his bowling action first arose in 2014, while playing for Lahore Lions in the Champions League – although the sanction did not apply in international cricket. He was reported again after the first Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi, in November of the same year, and his action found to exceed the permitted 15-degree limit. He returned in 2015, after being cleared by a re-test, but was reported once more against Sri Lanka in Galle and subsequently banned from bowling.
As per ICC regulations, if a player who has been reassessed and cleared is reported a second time, within two years of the date of commencement of the first suspension, he or she will then receive a minimum suspension of one year, and can apply once more for reassessment afterwards.
Speaking before the Old Trafford Test, Pakistan’s captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, said having Hafeez available to bowl would help his side. Pakistan have been deploying a four-man attack, with only Azhar Ali’s part-time legspin to fall back on. “That could give us a big advantage,” Misbah said of Hafeez’s potential bowling return, “if we have him when the opposition have four or five left-handers.” (Courtesy ESPN)