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Thursday, November 5, 2015

David Boon / ICC goof-up allows Marlon Samuels to play [bowl !!]

It was ODI no. 354 in Jan 1986 – at Sydney against India.  The stocky David Boon and Geoff Marsh opened.  Boon made 83 off 104 – a banner went up ‘ Boon is a boon to Australia’ – a few overs later, Marsh completed his century [he made 125] – another banner went up – ‘Marsh is more than a boon !’.   Boon from Tasmania played 107 Tests and 181 ODIs for Australia, brought Tasmania on the Cricketing map and later became an ICC match referee.  Now in news due to a goof !!

Chucking ! – many Cricketers have been complained of doing this …. Somehow, many Off-spinners have been called for chucking – not many fast bowlers with suspect action. .. .. .. and how much of ‘communication-gap’ is tolerable ?

Muttiah Muralithatan was teased and tormented by Aussies ~ and he got through all tests.  Another high ranked ODI bowler – Pakistani Saeed Ajmal is in crossroads. His action has been queried in the past but testing procedures were not as stringent or sophisticated as they are now.  Now ICC  has a clear mandate  to clamp down on illegal actions and last year,  there were four actions scrutinised and found wanting. Shane Shillingford, the West Indies spinner, has been suspended and reintegrated several times since his international debut in 2010, and has been cleared again on condition he does not bowl his doosra. Sri Lankan Sachithra Senanayake was called, England did make a fuss.

Ajmal has proved to be a cry-baby.  In a revelation of growing intolerance, the  discarded Offie accused Harbhajan Singh of chucking.  Ajmal has struggled to make a comeback to international cricket with his modified bowling action and appeared in a few T20 and ODI games on the tour to Bangladesh in April before being sidelined by the selectors. He has accused Ravichandran Ashwin too of suspect action, though none else has ever spoken about that – as far as Ashwin is concerned. 

In the 2nd One dayer at Colombo yesterday,  the hosts won by 8 wickets with 9 balls to spare – KushalJanith Perera fell one run agonizingly short of a century.  In the 38 overs match, West Indies employed 7 bowlers including Marlon Samuels who bowled 5.3 for 34 without taking a wicket.  Marlon Samuels is a right-hander of immense ability, who has so far struggled to realise his potential, thanks to the various controversies he has been embroiled in.  Well, this bowling performance, otherwise would not deserve any mention – but for the controversy behind that. 

In 2007 WC,  Nagpur police alleged that he passed on match-related information to an alleged bookie ahead of an ODI against India. He returned to the West Indies Test and ODI teams in 2011 –  played a stellar role making 78 in the World Twenty20 final against Sri Lanka, which lifted West Indies out of a hole and to their first world title since the 1979 World Cup. A month later, he notched a Test double century.  His faster ball [which really snorts] has often landed him in trouble.  He was reported for a suspect action during the second Test against India in Mumbai in November 2013, along with offspinner Shane Shillingford. Following a bio-mechanical analysis of his action, Samuels was barred from bowling quicker deliveries in international cricket in December 2013.

In the first Test -  Marlon Samuels,  was reported for a suspect bowling action and was  required to undergo a testing process within 14 days, but he can continue to bowl in international cricket until the results are known.  In that Test at Galle, Samuels bowled 27 overs in Sri Lanka's only innings  and picked up the wicket of Dimuth Karunaratne.

This is the third time that Samuels' action has been reported,  prior to this against India in Mumbai in November 2013. He was subsequently allowed to bowl the offbreak delivery but not his quicker ball.

Against Sri Lanka, in the 2nd ODI, he should not have bowled – going by the rule, yet ICC made a special allowance although the match is being played outside the 14-day grace period allowed for bowlers reported for a suspect action.The ICC said the exception was made because "the West Indies team was incorrectly advised that he was eligible to bowl in this match", and that West Indies had "selected the team based on this information." After this match "Samuels will not be allowed to bowl in international cricket until the results of his assessment are known," an ICC release said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the West Indies management expressed concern after being told Samuels was not allowed to bowl only after the match had begun. They said match referee David Boon had conveyed to them that the second ODI would be played inside the 21-day grace period afforded to reported bowlers.The West Indies management said they had taken Boon at his word.

Actually, the grace period is only 14 days and not 21 - following a rule change this year – perhaps David Boon had not fully updated himself  !!!  For the match, Samuels had to be picked and bowl as Jason Holder and Andre Russel were unavailable for selection.  Samuels was reported for a suspect action on October 19, but is understood to have no plans to undergo a biomechanical test until the team travels to Australia for their series which begins next month.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

5th Nov. 2015.

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