LAHORE: All-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has failed to clear the second bio-mechanics test conducted to assess the legality of his bowling action in a lab in Chennai, India according to initial reports received by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) .
A PCB official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the bending of Hafeez’s arm both round and over the wicket exceeded the limit of 15 degrees — the legal level set by the ICC for bowlers.
Over the wicket, Hafeez turned his arm at angles measuring from 16 to 18 degrees while round the wicket it ranged between 12 and 19 degrees, disclosed the official.
The PCB had selected Chennai as the venue for Hafeez’s test on grounds that a couple of bowlers had been cleared from there in the recent past.
However, former PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf had warned the PCB not to send the senior all-rounder to Chennai, rather to Brisbane, Australia for the bio-mechanics test..
However, the PCB still believes that compared to banned off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, Hafeez’s problems are far too less and therefore, he would be selected in the World Cup squad as he will have more than one month to improve his bowling action before the World Cup which commences in Australia and New Zealand on Feb 14.
Ajmal, whose action was found to be at an alarming level of 48 to 50 degrees, has optd out of the World Cup selection as it will still take him a considerable time to remodel his action and get it approved from the ICC. As for Hafeez, since he is also a recognized batsman, the PCB believes he would still be quite useful in the upcoming mega event.
It is up to Hafeez to show his mental strength in overcoming the odds and retaining his place in the national team purely as a batsmanif he does not get the required clearance on his bowling action.
As batsman, Hafeez’s performance in the last 12 One-day matches is not too impressive. He has aggregated 360 runs at a modest average of 30. But his nine wickets haul in 12 matches makes him a solid asset for the Pakistan team. However, it will be a testing time for the selectors whether to select Hafeez or not just as batsman.
Meanwhile, some cricket experts are also backing Azhar Ali to replace Hafeez in the World Cup squad as he can also bowl quite well besides having the ability to open the innings with dashing Ahmed Shehzad.
However, Azhar does not really have established credentials as an all-rounder, especially in the one-day format, so picking him for World Cup as an all-rounder is not a surefire bet for the selectors.
Hafeez was called by the ICC umpires during the first Test against New Zealand in November last year in the UAE. He was sent for his first bio-mechanics test to Loughborough’s National Cricket Performance Centre where he appeared on Dec 7 on the instructions of the ICC. He, however, failed to clear that test.
Instead of starting the rehab process on Hafeez at that time, the PCB and the team management preferred to include him in the third Test against New Zealand and later for the five-match One-day series against the Kiwis in the UAE which was not a wise move.
The final Pakistan squad for the World Cup is to be named on Jan 7.