KARACHI: Pakistan opener Mohammad Hafeez has completed his one-year bowling ban, imposed on him by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for having an elbow flex in his bowling action in excess of 15 degrees, and the off-spinner is expected to appear for another biomechanics test within a fortnight.
The 35-year-old was slapped with the ban after he failed a test carried out in Chennai in July 2015, having been flagged in the Test series against Sri Lanka last year.
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The ban officially ended on the fourth day of the Lord’s Test on July 17 as Pakistan recorded a historic win at the home of cricket.
Since the ban, Hafeez has been working hard on fixing his bowling action at the National Cricket Academy as well as during practice sessions with the national team. A knee injury sustained during the WorldT20 set back his training regime but Hafeez is slowly making his way back and is likely to appear in the ICC-accredited Loughborough biomechanics lab towards the end of the ongoing Test series.
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“It is a positive development that Hafeez can reapply for his bowling action test and we hope to organise it either during the Test series or towards its end,” an official close to the matter told The Express Tribune.
Hafeez’s return will lend balance to the team
Selector Tauseef Ahmed, a former Test off-spinner with 34 caps, feels Hafeez’s clearance will lend much-needed stability and cushion to Pakistan’s bowling attack.
“Hafeez isn’t expected to return during the Test series, but his return will lend balance to the team,” he said. “Hafeez has a great economy rate and his record against left-handers is as good as any off-spinner’s in the game. His return will help us in all three formats.”
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Tauseef added that Hafeez has worked tirelessly on fixing the chinks in his action and the selector asked the off-spinner to remove the pause in his delivery stride.
“Hafeez’s problem stems from the pause just before he delivers the ball,” said Tauseef. “That pause forces him to generate more power using his elbow, which then bends while delivering the ball. All he needs to do is minimise the pause.”
If Hafeez is called up again, he faces yet another ban but the 58-year-old Tauseef is confident that the opener can fix the flex in his elbow. “Unlike most bowlers with suspect actions, Hafeez doesn’t use his elbow that much; he has strong fingers and also uses the wrist.”
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Tauseef, who has coached many spinners in various national and regional camps in recent years, wants Hafeez to use his wrist in order to remove the elbow flex.
“If he starts using his wrist a little more, he will easily regain his old touch with a modified action,” added Tauseef. “His elbow flex isn’t too high and I am confident that he won’t lose much of his old trickery with a new action.”
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