Botha faces stricter test
Stiffer test to pass (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - A meeting between the ICC and leading biomechanists last month could ensure a more difficult path for Johan Botha to clear his name from chucking allegations.
Bruce Elliott, the University of Western Australia professor who last examined Botha's action in 2006, said a bowler's elbow flexion would no longer be assessed by taking an average reading over several overs, but rather on a one-strike-and-you're-out basis.
"In the early days we would take a mean reading from a number of deliveries and determine whether it was over or under the legal limit, but now the situation is that a bowler is not allowed to bowl any balls that extend beyond the 15 degrees during testing," Elliott told Cricinfo. "It wasn't clearly written but we had a meeting with the ICC three weeks ago and it was all sorted out."
Cricket South Africa has yet to announce where it will send Botha for testing, but it is likely he will again work with Elliott at the UWA.
Botha was twice tested at the facility in 2006 - the first resulting in his suspension from cricket, the second paving the way for a return - and must now be reassessed after umpires cited him for a suspect action after the fourth one-day international against Australia in Port Elizabeth on Monday.
Elliott said Botha, like Muttiah Muralitharan, could not entirely straighten his bowling arm, resulting in an "abduction angle" that made for an unusual action. He also noted that Botha had encountered difficulty in bowling his doosra legally during testing in early 2006, but after remedial work in South Africa, was able to bowl "the other one" with less elbow flexion than his stock off-break.
"It was clear cut illegal the first time, but he was able to bring it down by four or five degrees," Elliott said. "Because of the abduction angle, or carry angle, he is always going to have an action that catches the eye of umpires and spectators. He has some similar characteristics as Murali, but not quite so severe.
"I have not watched him bowl lately, so I don't know if there has been a quickening up or a regression. But the guys who do bowl the doosra tend to live on the edge. Most who bowl it cannot do so under about 10 degrees, so it obviously doesn't take much more for it to go over."