‘ICC right to stop chucking before World Cup’

ICC chief Dave Richardson has defended the recent crackdown on illegal bowling actions, saying it was ridiculous to suggest they wait until after the World Cup, as it would give illegal bowlers the advantage in an important event.

With Saeed Ajmal at risk of missing the event for Pakistan, thus hampering their potential, and a number of other spinners also banned from international cricket, there were outcries over the sudden timing of the punishments.

But Richardson felt it was way past due, and that the ICC were at fault for not clamping down on ‘chucking’ much earlier, as has been suggested by former umpire Darrell Hair.

Richardson, a former South Africa wicketkeeper, insisted: “If we decide that there’s something wrong with the game, why should we wait until after a World Cup?.

“I think we’d reached that straw that broke the camel’s back. There were just too many bowlers starting to emerge that people were starting to worry about.

“I think it was simply that we said no, this is far enough. It’s arguable that we should have taken this kind of action earlier. That we can take on the chin.”

Some have brought up the argument that the doosra, the main problem delivery in terms of flexing, should be allowed, in the same way the switch hit was given the go-ahead, but Richardson disagreed.

He added: “We had that debate. Should we change the law to allow bowlers to straighten their arm so that they can bowl the doosra and get it to spin the other way?.

“There were some who argue that, but the majority say no, stick with the laws as we’ve always had them. If you want to promote unorthodoxy, there were people in the history of the game, Johnny Gleeson, for example, who learnt how to spin the ball using his fingers.

“There are legitimate ways that you can do something special without actually changing the whole principle that you need to bowl with a straight arm. Hopefully we encourage unorthodox actions and deliveries, but within the laws.

“Even I could spin the ball when I threw it in the nets. I couldn’t when I bowled with a straight arm. So why make it easier to bowl for most bowlers? The guys who get the wickets must be the best bowlers.

“Fifteen degrees was chosen as that is the point at which you will start to notice that someone is straightening his arm. We felt it’s unfair to suspend a bowler who might be straightening his arm by five or six degrees now because we’ve got the technology, whereas in the history of cricket such a bowler would have gone unnoticed.”