Mohammad Hafeez is free to bowl again after his bowling action passed an assessment test. The Pakistan allrounder, who has faced troubles with the legality of his bowling action throughout his career, was reported in a Vitality Blast game in August last year. An assessment at Loughborough University then concluded the bowler’s elbow extended beyond the permitted 15-degree threshold, and he was banned from bowling in the ECB competitions.
However, after undergoing testing at LUMS university – also an ICC-accredited testing centre – in Lahore, an independent panel concluded his elbow did not exceed the maximum 15-degree mark, and therefore, the suspension was lifted.
The ruling comes at a particularly beneficial time for Hafeez, with the PSL just around the corner. Due to agreements between international cricketing boards, the ECB ban meant he was prohibited from bowling in international games as well as competitions organised by other boards around the world, including at the PSL.
Hafeez has been reported, suspended and subsequently cleared a number of times in the past six years when the ICC began to crack down on illegal bowling actions with greater frequency. But Hafeez’s problems with his bowling action go back a long way. He was first reported over 15 years ago during an ODI tri-series in Australia in 2005. In 2014, his action was reported during the Champions League T20, and then again following a Test match against New Zealand later that year. Having twice been found over the legal limit for elbow extension, Hafeez was banned from bowling for 12 months.
After his ban ended, he returned to bowling after clearing a bowling test in 2016 but the issue arose again in October 2017, when he was reported during an ODI against Sri Lanka. He was suspending from bowling once more, before being cleared by Loughborough University in May 2018. A few months later, during an ODI against New Zealand, Ross Taylor implied Hafeez was bowling with a bent arm, leading then Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed to slam Taylor’s gesture “disgraceful”.