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Hafeez suspended, again

Hafeez suspended, again

#1 ODI all-rounder Hafeez barred from bowling for the third time since 2014

Muhammad Hafeez- the number one ODI all-rounder, has been suspended for the third time in his career for illegal bowling action. His action was declared dubious in the third ODI against Sri Lanka, in the previous month. As a seasoned off-spinner, he has been an integral part of the team and his ability to open the bowling helped the Pakistan team to try new bowling combinations. His record against lefthanders is especially remarkable. The captain could always turn to him if a youngster wasn’t able to absorb the pressure.

Hafeez previously got suspended when his action was labelled suspect in December 2014, in a series against New Zealand. This ultimately resulted in his exclusion from 2015 World Cup where his absence was strongly felt. Hafeez then made his comeback in April 2015 but wasn’t able to last for long as his action again got reported in the Galle test of 2015. As per the ICC guidelines, being reported twice in a span of 24 months resulted in a 12 month ban.

Now, after being reported thrice, he was sent to Loughborough University for an independent assessment which stated that his action is illegal and is exceeding the margin of 15 degrees confided by ICC. In the 4 overs he bowled, almost a dozen bowls exceeded the legitimate limit of 15 degrees. However, one positive element was that the margin it touched wasn’t as huge as Saeed Ajmal’s, many of whose deliveries exceeded 30 degrees. Ajmal has been accusing ICC of bias and discrimination and recently said in an interview to Dawn news that ICC was “targeting only Pakistani bowlers” and Hafeez was the latest victim of it.

The 37 years old all-rounder has been advised by cricketing greats like Wasim Akram to give up on bowling and only focus on his batting for the future. However, it appears he doesn’t want to accept this solution, as he expressed in a tweet after the ban:

It appears that he wants to fight with all obstacles that come across his path and this can be a big challenge for him as youngsters like Faheem Ashraf and Imad Wasim are all set to replace him as Pakistan’s premium all-rounder.

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