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Sports

January 10, 2015

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PCB to keep pushing for Hafeez’s clearance

KARACHI: Pakistan’s cricket authorities are quietly confident that they will get all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez’s bowling action cleared ahead of the high-octane World Cup clash against arch-rivals India in Adelaide on February 15.
Even though it seems at the moment that Hafeez will be confined to the role of a specialist top-order batsman in the tournament, well-placed sources told ‘The News’ on Friday that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is currently taking necessary steps for one final push aimed at getting a green signal for the off-spinner to bowl during the World Cup.
“To have Hafeez playing as an all-rounder in Pakistan’s World Cup squad is really important for the overall balance of the team which is why PCB has made up its mind to keeping pushing for an International Cricket Council (ICC) clearance as soon as possible,” a source said.
“The Board is of the view that with persistent efforts to remodel Hafeez’s bowling action there is a realistic chance that he will pass ICC’s bio-mechanic test ahead of the World Cup,” he added.
The Sargodha-born Hafeez failed an unofficial test on his remodeled bowling action in the South Indian city of Chennai earlier this month.
At a lab in Chennai, Hafeez bowled 11 deliveries out of which the flex in six deliveries was above the legal limit of 15-degree. The average flex in the deliveries bowled by Hafeez over the wicket was 16 degrees. Of the five deliveries bowled round the wicket by him, two had 17 and 19 degrees of flex respectively.
The plan, according to sources, is to make Hafeez take the ICC test at an accredited laboratory in Brisbane once the team arrives in Australia after a two-match series in New Zealand.
Pakistan will play two pre-World Cup warm-up games in Sydney against Bangladesh (February 9) and England (February 11) before beginning their title campaign with a potentially-explosive opening game against India.
“There is a big possibility that Hafeez will

undergo a biomechanics test in Brisbane early next month,” the source said. “However, it will depend on how much improvement he (Hafeez) manages to bring to his bowling action.”
Pakistan see the seasoned Hafeez as a vital cog in their limited-overs team primarily because he can more than supplement his batting skills by providing them with a tried-and-tested off spin option.
Hafeez, 34, has accumulated 4456 runs at an average of 30.94 from 153 One-day International appearances but it’s because of his haul of 122 wickets at an economy rate of just over four that he is considered to be a key member in the Pakistani squad.
He was initially reported for a suspect action while playing for Lahore Lions in the Champions League T20, but that sanction did not apply to international cricket. He was reported again in November, during the first Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi.

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