Mohammad Hafeez's action found to be illegal, suspended from bowling in international cricket

Ashish Peter 16/11/2017
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Hafeez has been suspended from bowling with immediate effect.

Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has been suspended from bowling with immediate effect after failing a bowling test to check his suspected bowling action.

The International Cricket Council announced on Thursday that the 37-year-old’s action was found to be illegal according to the rules after conducting an independent assessment.

The independent assessment revealed that the majority of Hafeez’s deliveries during the test exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted under the ICC regulations.

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 veteran all-rounder was reported for a suspect action during the third ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the UAE last month following which he flew to England to get his actions assessed at the Loughborough University.

This is the second time in his career that Hafeez has been suspended from bowling in international cricket after he was reported for a second time in his career during 2015.

The Pakistan man had been suspended from bowling in international cricket a for a period of 12 months back then. After remedial work on his bowling action, Hafeez had been allowed to bowl again and had recently established himself as the No.1 all-rounder in the world in the ODI format.

Hafeez can apply for a re-assessment after modifying his bowling action in accordance with clause 4.5 of the Regulations.

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Lakmal destroys India's top-order and other talking points from the first day of Eden Gardens Test

Ashish Peter 16/11/2017
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Lamal's 3-0 off his six overs exposed India's top-order.

The opening day of the first Test between India and Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens saw less than 12 overs bowled after a wet outfield and bad light interrupted proceedings from the very start.

Dinesh Chandimal won the toss and duly elected to have a bowl first on a moist and wet pitch. His decision was vindicated as the hosts finished the day at 17-3 before bad light caused stumps to be drawn early.

We look at the key talking points of a short but eventful day of cricket in Kolkata.

Murali Vijay misses out in the opener’s roulette

While Murali Vijay and KL Rahul had cemented their spots as India’s opening batsmen not too long ago, an injury to the former meant Shikhar Dhawan was drafted back into the role when the two sides last met in the islanders’ backyard.

Dhawan had seized the opportunity with both hands with two tons in the 3-0 series victory over Sri Lanka which in turn meant that the Indian team management was faced with a tough choice once Vijay returned to full fitness.

Rahul’s run of seven consecutive half-centuries meant that he kept his spot in the playing XI and in the end it was Vijay who missed out on Thursday with Dhawan’s recent exploits earning him an extended run at the top.

Murali Vijay had to miss out among the three openers on Thursday.

Murali Vijay had to miss out among the three openers on Thursday.

Suranga Lakmal destroys India’s top-order in impeccable spell

The right-arm pacer was bang on the money from the very first ball on an overcast day in Kolkata as he broke Rahul’s impressive run of fifties with a peach of a delivery which forced him to play at it.

A generous amount of away movement meant Rahul could only feather an edge behind as his golden run came to an end with a golden duck.

Lakmal would not let up on the batsmen all day during his six-over spell as he made the most of the prodigious movement on offer at the wicket.

He had the host batsmen constantly hopping and fending with some immaculate control of swing bowling and was duly rewarded with two more prized wickets in the form of Dhawan and Virat Kohli.

Dhawan’s stumps were rattled with an incoming delivery after he attempted an ambitious drive while Kohli was undone by a late in-swinger himself.

The remarkable thing was that Lakmal went for no runs in his entire spell, bowling six maiden overs on the trot.

Kohli and India get the ideal preparation for South Africa

Before the start of the series, the Indian skipper had spoken about wanting Sri Lanka to make his side ‘uncomfortable’ in the three Tests.

With a tour of South Africa in mind, Kohli had spoken about the need to get the ideal preparation to be able to play in pressure situations at any part of the world.

He and his team got what they asked for and more on Thursday as Lakmal had the batsmen in all sorts of trouble on a relaid Kolkata pitch.

The wild swing, pace and bounce on offer seemed like something one would see on the grounds in South Africa and immediately the Indian batsmen were found wanting.

None of the batsmen looked in control on the opening day and this would have been an eye opener for the team management ahead of the tougher Tests that await them.

India's frailties against swing does not bode well for the South Africa tour.

India’s frailties against swing does not bode well for the South Africa tour.

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South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn comes through unscathed on return to professional cricket

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Steyn bowled three quiet overs for a wicket in his return after injury.

South African fast bowler Dale Steyn wasn’t looking for anything spectacular in his comeback to professional cricket, and he duly delivered three largely uneventful overs in a domestic Twenty20 match on Wednesday.

More than a year after suffering a stress fracture in his right shoulder in a Test in Australia, Steyn, 34, took one for 25 to help his Titans franchise defeat the Knights by 38 runs at the Diamond Oval.

Bowling the second over of the innings, with his team defending 199, Steyn started with a no-ball, then conceded three fours off successive balls in a first over which cost 17 runs.

But a two-over spell in mid-innings brought him the wicket of Test squad batsman Theunis de Bruyn while conceding only eight runs, including a wide.

He also contributed a catch in the covers and left the field with a smile on his face.

Steyn needs to prove his fitness before South Africa’s next Test engagement, a day-night encounter against Zimbabwe in Port Elizabeth from December 26 to 29.

The South African was in good spirits and delighted to have come through unscathed on his return to cricket after being sidelined for 377 days. Steyn took to Twitter on Thursday to reiterate that his body was feeling well after his workout on the field.

If Steyn can work himself into contention for the Proteas, the hosts could field a potentially fiery pace bowling attack which also includes Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander by the time the No.1 ranked Indian team arrive for their tour beginning in January next year.

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