Richards slams ICC over timing of bowlers’ suspensions

COLOMBO: Former West Indies captain and batting icon Viv Richards believes the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s crackdown on bowlers with suspect actions has come at the wrong time and it should have been done a while ago.

“In my opinion such action should have been taken some time ago and on a wider basis because these guys have been there for quite some time,” Richards said in Colombo, where he is working with the West Indies ‘A’ team as technical director.

“I am not sure because the West Indies are touring India, there is going to be a World Cup next year, whether all this has something to do with it, I just believe the timing has to be good. With the next World Cup around the corner this is not the correct time to take such measures.”

West Indies off-spinner Sunil Narine was reported twice for a suspect action during the recent Champions League T20 and was barred from bowling in the final and other BCCI tournaments. The West Indies Cricket Board took a precautionary measure of withdrawing him from the India tour “to have his action assessed.”

“Narine is a mystery man like Muttiah Muralitharan, it’s going to hurt West Indies cricket more than any other team,” reckoned Richards.

Sri Lanka off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake, Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal, Bangladesh’s Sohag Gazi, Zimbabwe’s Prosper Utseya and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and some others have been reported for suspect actions and banned from bowling during the last year.

Speaking of West Indies’ chances in the 2015 World Cup, Richards said: “West Indies have a magnificent team and I think if they can gel well they can accomplish victory. They are a multi-talented team when you look at the Bravos, the Andre Russells, the Pollards. We can beat anyone on any given day and if we do that we will be pretty much in the picture.”

Richards said there was a possibility of some of the West Indies players from the ‘A’ team joining the seniors for the Test series in India.

“We hope that when West Indies A leave Sri Lanka we have some exciting players who would do justice to West Indies cricket in the future. The challenge for the future is for the present individuals to try and emulate how well West Indies did in the past. It’s a huge task but you should never ever say ‘never’ because all things are possible.”

West Indies ‘A’ play three four-day matches and three one-dayers against Sri Lanka ‘A’, with the first match starting on Oct 11 in Hambantota.

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