There will be a lot on his mind when Johan Botha takes the field against Sri Lanka at Perth’s WACA ground on Tuesday in the latest round of VB Series matches. If he takes the field at all.
Win, lose or tie, Botha will stay behind in Perth on Wednesday while the rest of his team mates travel to Melbourne for Friday’s match against Australia. You can use the most diplomatically correct language in the world, but the truth is that Botha will be asked to prove he isn’t a cheat.
Testing on his controversial action will take place at the University of Western Australia on Wednesday, almost a full month after he was reported for having a suspect action by ICC match referee Chris Broad after the third Test in Sydney on January 6.
It may come as scant comfort to the Warriors seamer-turned-spinner, but one of the world’s leading experts in human movements has said that Botha is not the only bowler in world cricket who should be tested.
Dr Paul Hurrion, one of the International Cricket Council’s expert panel of human-movement specialists, said on Monday: “Botha isn’t the only bowler who needs to be tested. “I would like to see some of these high-profile players back through the system,” he said. “That would clear a lot of the scaremongering and the underlying suspicion.”
“There are a few bowlers, Muthiah Muralitharan and Shoaib Akhtar among them, who haven’t gone through the new protocol,” Hurrion said.
Hurrion devised the revolutionary computer video software five years ago which set the levels of arm straightening for a bowler at five degrees for a spinner, 7.5 for a medium-pacer and 10 for a fast bowler. But that system was scrapped in 2004 in favour of a uniform 15 degrees. in late 2004.
Muralitharan was found to have bowled his controversial doosra delivery with an illegal bend of 14 degrees under the old system, but hasn’t been tested since the new laws were introduced.
“I suppose it’s only really as a result of a couple of high-profile players that some of those values were challenged,” Hurrion said. “The powers-that-be have gone for the 15-degree value, which I will stand by.”
Botha’s doosra, the delivery that goes the other way to the conventional off-break, was the point of concern for Broad – although Hurrion says it is possible to bowl the doosra legally.
“You can bowl a doosra under 15 but whether you can bowl it effectively … it’s close,” Hurrion told London’s Independent newspaper.
One thing is certain – Botha will not be the last spinner to be tested. In fact, Hurrion foresees a flood of ‘controversial’ spinners in the years to come.
“They have changed the whole way spin bowling will be coached. Anybody with half a brain will push it to the limits.”
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Feel free to get in touch.