New Delhi: Asserting that the timing of the crackdown on illegal actions is not a conspiracy, ICC CEO David Richardson lauded Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh for correcting his bowling action after being called twice in his career and making it absolutely legal.
"At one stage his (Harbhajan Singh) action came under a bit of scrutiny. He did a fantastic job in adapting his action to make sure that he was now bowling legally. And now there is no question mark about the way he bowls. I think yes the ICC has cracked down on bowlers that are extending their arm during the delivery and there is no conspiracy about the timing of it," Richardson said on the sidelines of an ICC event where luxury watch brand 'Hublot' was announced as the official timekeeper of the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
In the last three months notably three international off-spinners have been banned for bending their arm more than the prescribed limit including Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal and many former greats believe that ICC's action, which comes just ahead of the 50-over showpiece event is ill-timed. Richardson though said that enough is enough.
"We reached a stage where too many bowlers were starting to bend the rules - excuse the pun. And the cricket committee backed up by the ICC board decided that action needed to be taken. But having said that I really think that bowlers that have been reported are doing the right thing by working on their actions to come back as legal bowlers. And also the message is out there loud and clear to teams that don't mess, don't pick players who have got suspicious actions. Pick people who can bowl legally," the former South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman said.
The out-of-favour Indian spinner Harbhajan, who was sharing the stage with the ICC CEO, was not only pleased at being made a good example of the game but also praised the move to clean up cricket of all ills.
"Not just once but twice I have been called. Once it was 1999 when I just started my cricket and 2006. So there is a limit set by the ICC and if any bowler goes beyond that limit there are people who are watching it. They are not asking anyone to stop playing cricket but all they are saying just go to the school and learn to bowl within the limits of ICC," said the Punjab skipper, who had flown in from Ahmedabad before the Vijay Hazare one-day tournament final against Karnataka tomorrow.
"So I think it is great thing what you have done and as Dave said the doors are not closed for anyone, if you bowl within the limit you can still play cricket and enjoy bowling the "Doosra" or whatever delivery you want to bowl. So its a great inititaive taken by the ICC," he added.