Akila Dananjaya is the latest entrant in the long, somewhat infamous list of international bowlers who are reported for having suspect bowling action. The match officials reported the Sri Lankan off-spinner during the recently concluded Galle test match against England.
Let’s look into some of the most famous names in world cricket who had to face questions regarding the legality of their bowling action during their time.
Muttiah Muralitharan is the biggest name in this list. The most successful bowler in the history of international men’s cricket had a long-standing doubt regarding the legality of his bowling action due to an unusual hyperextension of his congenitally bent arm. He was first called for chucking by Australian umpire Darrell Hair during the 1995 Boxing Day test match. He was cleared by ICC post the biometrical test of his bowling action. However, he was again called for chucking in Australia during 1998 tour and both the fans and the experts remained divided regarding whether his bowling action is clear or not till his retirement in 2011.
Mohammad Hafeez has one of the longest histories of called for chucking and going through tests and remodeling in action. He was first reported in April 2014 during the Abu Dhabi test against New Zealand. He reassessed his action and started bowling again in April 2015; however, he was again reported in July 2015 and was banned for 12 months. He was again reported in November 2016 and in 2017. He was again reported in 2017 and even during the recently ongoing Pakistan-New Zealand series Ross Taylor created controversy when he gestured to the umpires to check the legality of Hafeez’s action.
Another Pakistani player who had the long-standing tiff with ICC regarding his bowling action is Saeed Ajmal. A very successful off-spinner Ajmal was first reported in 2009 and subsequently cleared. However, he was banned by the ICC in 2014 due to his illegal bowling action. He returned with remodeled action in 2015 but could not replicate his early success. He subsequently retired from the game in 2017.
Harbhajan Singh was one of the prominent Indian bowlers who were reported for a suspected bowling action. He was first reported in 1998, very early in his career. He came back post remodeling his action and became a mainstay of Indian bowling for next 5-6 years. He was again reported in 2005 by the ICC and cleared post biometric tests.
South African off-spinner Johan Botha is another player with a long history of chucking allegation against his name. He was reported for the first time after the conclusion of his debut test in January 2006. He returned post-tests however again reported in 2009. After conducting various tests the ICC announced that Botha’s ‘Doosra’ delivery is not following the ICC norm and banned him from bowling that delivery in the international cricket. Botha continued to play franchise cricket till 2015.
One of the most popular and successful bowlers in the various global T20 leagues, Sunil Narine is always considered as a mystery spinner due to the kind of variation he has in his armory. However, Narine was first suspended in 2014 for illegal action over 15-degree bend of his arm. He was again suspended in November 2015 and cleared in April 2016 post remodeling his action. Recently He was reported during PSL 2018 but cleared later.
One of the oldest incidents of chucking in international cricket was related to Geoff Griffin. The South African fast bowler played two tests against England during the 1960 tour. During his second test in Lords’ he took a hat-trick. This is till now the only hat-trick taken by a South African in tests and also the only incident of a hat-trick in test matches in Lords’. But along with success he also created controversy when he was called 11 times for his bowling action. He did not play test cricket again and retired soon after being called again in a domestic match.