The issue of bowlers with suspect action at the domestic level is quite serious, what with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) identifying as many as 13 bowlers with flawed action in the last Ranji Trophy season.
The number – probably the largest ever in a single season – should cause serious concern amongst the authorities for it indicates that the problem is on the rise.
Agreeing that the revelation is quite worrying, a BCCI official said the large number of identified players could partly be attributed to the board’s proactive approach to weed out the problem. “We have been pretty strict on anything we found doubtful. The idea is to identify and then rectify the flaw at the earliest so that these boys don’t have to suffer later,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
Confirming this, Prof Ratnakar Shetty, the Board’s Chief Administrative Officer, said all offenders were detected during the Ranji Trophy, thanks to the video cameras installed to assist the umpires’ coaches.
“While going through the video footage for assessing the umpires’ performance, S Venkataraghavan (BCCI’s Director of Umpires and former India captain) has noticed some bowlers with suspect actions,” Shetty said.
“The list is being compiled and if it is felt that these bowlers require assistance, they will be sent for correcting their action to the National Cricket Academy (in Bangalore).”
Though HT has the names of most of the bowlers who have been identified so far, we are withholding the names as the complete list is still being compiled.
Surprisingly, many of the bowlers who have been detected so far are representing their respective zonal teams in the ongoing Duleep Trophy.
So is the BCCI trying to ignore the problem and let the bowlers scot-free?
“No,” Shetty said. “The main problem is that they haven’t yet been formally reported by the umpires, so we cannot stop them from playing. But after the final assessment of the footage of all the matches, if it is felt that their actions need to corrected, they will have to go through the procedure.”
The Bangladesh Cricket Board recently identified half a dozen bowlers with a flawed action from their domestic circuit and banned six from further participation in any tournament till they get their action cleared. There could be a lesson here.