Former Interantional umpire Darrel Hair has said that the ICC’s crackdown on suspect bowling action has come 20 years late. In addition he also said that the weakness of umpires has created the issue of “generation of chuckers”. Hair was the first umpire to call to call former Sri Lanakan off spinner Mutthiah Muralitharan for suspect action in 1995.
Today while speaking to Sydney morning herald, Hair said “
“Whatever they’re doing now, they’re doing 20 years too late. They had a chance in 1995 to clean things up and it’s taken them 19 years to finally come back and say they want chuckers out of the game. I can’t believe that Saeed Ajmal has been able to bowl as long as he has, and they say he is bending his arm by 45 degrees [the legal limit is 15 degrees] or something. Well, every man and his dog would have known that.
“I suppose what it does show is the general weakness of the umpires over time to do anything about it.”
Muralitharan got his action cleared after the boxing day test, but once again was called for the same in 1999 in an ODI against England by umpire Ross Emerson.
“All I was doing at any time was just doing my job and I think I did it to the best of my ability,” Hair said. “The fact was that no other ICC umpires were willing to have a go. Ross Emerson was very adamant about his thoughts about chuckers but they soon put him into the background.”
“I suppose I was lucky I had a few games under my belt so they didn’t want to target me, but they certainly got him out of the way fairly swiftly. It’ll be interesting to see how many umpires are brave enough to get involved in it. I said it in the late ’90s that if something wasn’t done about it you’d have a generation of chuckers on your hands and now you have.”
The ICC now has started to take the chucking issue seriosuly and has suspended Sri Lanka’s Sachithra Senanayake, Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal, New Zealand’s Kane Willamson, Zimbabwe’s Prosper Utseya and Bangladesh’s Sohag Gazi since June 2014. Even in the Champions League T20, Mohammed Hafeez, Sunil Narine, Adnaan Rasool, Suryakumar Yadav and Prenelan Subrayen were reported for suspect action.
After ICC’s meeting in June 2014, the drive against illegal actions has intensified.
“The game had reached a tipping point on this issue, when many groups within the game felt that there were too many bowlers with suspect actions operating in international cricket,” ICC general manager of cricket operations, Geoff Allardice, told Fairfax Media. “The most prominent of these groups was the ICC Cricket Committee at its meeting in June, when it observed the ICC’s reporting and testing procedures were not adequately scrutinising these bowlers. They weren’t the only ones talking about this issue, as similar views had been expressed by teams, players, umpires, referees and administrators.
“Since that time the umpires have felt more confident to report their concerns with certain bowlers, and their concerns have been supported by the results of the testing of these reported bowlers.”