Pakistan off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez faces a lengthy ban from bowling after his action was questioned again for a second time in seven months, the Cricinfo website reported.
The umpires reported Hafeez following Pakistan’s 10-wicket win over Sri Lanka in Galle on Sunday, the website said quoting unnamed team management sources.
The International Cricket Council has not confirmed the report, which if true, could mark the end of the bowling career of the 34-year-old all-rounder.
Hafeez had been reported for a suspect action after the Abu Dhabi Test against New Zealand last November, but was cleared to resume bowling in April after being tested at a bio-mechanics clinic in Chennai.
— Sportskeeda (@Sportskeeda) June 21, 2015
Since then, he has bowled in nine international matches in Bangladesh, at home against Zimbabwe, and in Sri Lanka where he took two wickets in 20 overs in Galle.
Under ICC regulations, Hafeez will have to undergo testing within 21 days of receiving the official report. If his action is found illegal, he may not be allowed to bowl for a year.
But he can bowl till the test results are declared, effectively making him available for the remaining two Tests against Sri Lanka in Colombo (July 25-29) and Pallekele (July 3-7).
Hafeez, who made his international debut in 2003, has claimed 51 wickets in 43 Tests, 123 wickets in 161 one-dayers and 46 wickets in 62 Twenty20 matches.
The pressure has been mounting on captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for some time now and it finally showed last night following India’s first ever ODI series defeat against Bangladesh when the wicketkeeper batsman said he was willing to step aside if he is being seen as the reason behind the team’s defeats.
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Bangladesh thrashed India by six wickets in the second ODI of the three-match series to take an unassailable 2-0 lead and when Dhoni was asked about the defeat and its effect on his captaincy, the 33-year-old said he had had enough of people blaming him.
“I’m always the one blamed for everything wrong with Indian cricket. Maybe it is all because of me that everything is happening. If it is justified that you remove me and Indian cricket will start doing well then definitely I would love to step aside and play as just a player.
“Ultimately, it is most important for India to win and not who is leading them to the win,” said Dhoni, in Mirpur. “I was never really in line to become the captain, but it was given to me. Now if you take it away from me, I will still be happy because what is more important for me is to play for the country and contribute to a win.”
It has been a difficult few days for Dhoni with India losing comprehensively to Bangladesh and news emerging from India that his links with a sports management firm that handles other Indian players is being probed by the BCCI. Although the Indian board denied any special inquiry, it has only added to the negativity surrounding Dhoni.
The India captain also had to explain why Ajinkya Rahane, one of India’s in-form batsmen, had been dropped for the match.
“We all felt that he needs pace on the wicket to play well. On faster wickets he plays a lot better. But when he plays at number four or five on a slower wicket, he finds it difficult to freely rotate the strike,” Dhoni added.
“This problem of his is especially seen at the start of his innings. It’s not easy. Ajinkya will have to wait.
“Whenever Rayudu has gotten a chance to play for India, apart from this match, he has done well for us.
“He is a good character to have in the side. He is not someone who looks very stylish but is someone who can score runs for you which is more important.”
Bangladesh played their first Test against India on November 10, 2000. They started on a sensational note, scoring 400 against a near full-strength Indian team. But things went belly up in the second innings, as they were shot out for 91 and India won the match easily.
For a long time, that was the case with the Tigers. They would do well in one innings and have a shocker in the other, be it one-days or Tests. They had to wait until 2005 for their first win in the five-day game and that was against Zimbabwe. In all, Bangladesh have won just seven Tests in 91 outings and only two of them came against a ‘major’ side – the West Indies (however, it was against a second-string Caribbean team).
For many years, it was felt Bangladesh had been awarded Test status too early and in fact during the 2003 series against Australia, the late David Hookes urged the Aussies to finish off their Test in one day. But such impatience was unfair. India won Test status in 1932 and had to wait for 20 years to register their first win in the five-day game. The Kiwis started playing Tests in 1930 and it wasn’t until 1956 that they tasted success.
— Ramiz Raja (@SirRamizRaja) June 21, 2015
Unfortunately for the Tigers, people are not so keen to wait in the 21st century. They need results right away. They did get some famous ODI wins under their belt – most notably against the mighty Aussies in 2005 and against India in the 2007 World Cup which ousted the heavyweights from the tournament. But they still weren’t getting ‘respect’ from the cricketing world.
But over the past season or so, things have started to change. Though their Test results are yet to reflect that change in momentum, their performances in one-dayers indicate that something big is around the corner.
They have enjoyed a superb 2015, highlighted by their efforts in the World Cup. They reached the quarter-finals of the 50-over showpiece and defeated England en route. Against the Indians in the last eight clash, they had kept the men in blue in check for the majority of the first innings before Rohit Sharma broke free, after getting a lifeline from the umpire over a no-ball call. Bangladesh lost that game but proved that they have become genuinely competitive.
They continued that superb form against Pakistan at home, spanking their much fancied opponents 3-0 in the ODI series. All three wins were so comprehensive that the Pakistan Cricket Board is contemplating launching an inquiry into the debacle.
India expected a tough fight in their short series but they were thoroughly dominant in the one-off Test two weeks back despite rain cutting the match short. However, the ODIs have been a completely different story.
The first match in Dhaka was one of the most all-round performances by the Bangladeshis against a top-notch side as they first posted 307 before blowing Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s full-strength team away for 228. What made the win even more commendable was the fact that eight wickets were snared by seam bowlers, including five by young left-armer Mustafizur Rahman.
— DhakaTribune (@DhakaTribune) June 22, 2015
The second ODI went on similar lines and it is clear that this is a different Bangladesh side. They have some brilliant batting prowess in the form of Tamim Iqbal, who now has 13 international centuries, and Mominul Haque, who has scored an incredible 11 fifties in Test matches on the trot (a feat managed only by the likes of Viv Richards, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and AB de Villiers).
Their captaincy is in the capable hands of wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim (in Tests) and seamer Mashrafe Mortaza (in ODIs) with the ever reliable Shakib Al Hasan there to provide more support.
It’s the bowling that has made a big difference in Bangladesh’s fortunes of late, especially in the pace department. They have some genuine quicks in the form of Rubel Hossain and young tearaway Taskin Ahmed. Rubel stole the show with his four-wicket burst against England at the World Cup while Ahmed already has 21 wickets from 14 matches in his short but impressive career.
Left arm seamer Rahman, in fact, has been nearly unplayable with his change of pace and has 11 wickets from two matches against India in the ongoing series.
All these factors point to Bangladesh beginning to justify their Test status. Though the positive results are confined to the limited overs arena as of now, the solid base that their game now enjoys should allow them to scale new heights in Test matches.
Though it has taken Bangladesh 15 years to act like a Test playing nation, they are finally doing so. Their fast bowling resources are looking very healthy and they have some solid batting to fall back upon. Their seniors are at that perfect age (Rahim and Shakib are 28 while Tamim is 26) when they can take the team to next level. All they now have to do is deliver on that promise.