New Botha scrutiny 'rubbish'
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
In the spotlight (Gallo Images)
Cape Town – Dave Rundle, one of the earliest one-day international off-spinners fielded by South Africa in the post-isolation era, says he is “perplexed” that Johan Botha has been reported to the International Cricket Council (ICC) again over his bowling action.
“I feel sorry for Johan … I think what’s happening is rubbish,” Rundle told Sport24 on Wednesday.
The former Western Province off-spinner, now 43, was responding to the fact that umpires Brian Jerling (South Africa) and Asoka de Silva (Sri Lanka) reported Botha for suspected action illegalities during the fourth ODI against Australia in Port Elizabeth on Monday.
They cited his quicker ball and “doosra” – the off-spinner’s variation that turns away from the right-handed batsman – as the problem areas.
“The big question to ask is: what has actually changed since he was cleared after all that comprehensive scientific testing in the first place?” said Rundle.
“It’s confusing that they can pass him and then suddenly not pass him. Once you make a ruling, after putting a guy through what is a pretty terrible testing process, you should just let the bowler get on with his trade.
“And if you are going to finger Johan Botha, I’d suggest another close look at the action of (Sri Lankan legend) Muttiah Muralitharan too.
“The doosra is a very difficult delivery to bowl; there’s got to be some sort of bent elbow involved. I’ve always found that ‘15 degree’ (arm-straightening) stipulation a complex thing – how do you actually police it?”
Rundle said he believed Botha would fight through his latest setback, after first being collared over his action on the last Proteas tour of Australia in 2005/06.
“He isn’t all about the doosra, anyway. He bowls with really good pace variation and gets a lot of wickets through his flight. He adds quite a bit to the team as an overall package.
“This thing should be laid to rest. I hope he doesn’t have to go through the whole bio-mechanical process again. They must go through existing footage and see if anything has really altered since they OK’d him.”
Rundle, now involved in sports management, took 250 career first-class wickets and played two ODIs against Australia on the 1993/94 tour there, grabbing four for 42 on his debut at Brisbane.