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Tuesday, 11 January, 2000, 10:59 GMT
Is Shoaib Akhtar being victimised?

The International Cricket Council's decision to suspend Shoaib Akhtar has been greeted with fury in Pakistan.

Shoaib is currently the fastest bowler in the world and certainly one of the sport's most gifted players.

The Pakistani bowler, whose case is currently being reviewed by the ICC, was accused of "chucking" (failing to bowl the ball with a straight arm) in November.

Some Pakistani cricket officials have criticised the decision, claiming it is "racially motivated" and have accused the ICC of bias against Asian nations.

The Secretary of the Pakistan Cricket Board Shafqat Rana said Asian teams like India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were being discriminated against, whether it concerned a bowler's action or biased umpiring.

What do you think - Is Shoaib Akhtar being victimised?

Cricket is slowly beginning to be recognised as an entertaining sport. Such short-sighted decisions will lead to unpopularity of the game on a worldwide basis.
Zaheer Khan, Canada
Cricket is slowly beginning to be recognised as an entertaining sport. Such short-sighted decisions will lead to unpopularity of the game on a worldwide basis. The ICC body should try to save their jobs and avoid being in the unemployment line.
Zaheer Khan, Canada

Australians have always been known for their intolerance of racial diversity. As for ICC, it's not the first time it has taken such actions against Pakistani bowlers only to retract them later.
James Jhones, U.S.A

So most the subcontinental e-mailers are taking the opportunity of having a swipe at the Aussies, stating they are racist and writing a stack of garbage just to stir us up. I do believe Shoaib was harshly treated (like a lot of Aussie cricket followers) and you blokes can write what you like about us because we know that you people wouldn't dare let the FACTS get in the way of a good story.
Mark Schuller, Australia

Everytime a team from Indo-Pak sub-continent visits Australia, England or South Africa, they always put psychological pressure on an important player of the visiting team. I believe that this is a strategy the host team wants to implement to put the visitor in a dilemma so that they could not play up to their capacity and eventually lose the game. That is what happened to Shoaib in Australia.
Abu Ahmed, USA

People tend to do unimaginable things when fear strikes. Same was the case with Australian Cricketers. Two third of the Australian Batsmen are at the end of their careers therefore they don't want to take a chance against the furious speed of Shaoib Akhtar.
M. Arshad, USA

If somebody is found to be chucking then he should be out of cricket. Period. With people like Jagmohan Dalmiya (an Indian) and Clyde Walcott from West Indies holding ICC's topmost positions, it is ridiculous to term ICC as racist. Maybe Akhtar needs to work on his bowling action when he sends in those bouncers.
Andy, USA

It is interesting that any threat to Australian cricket ends up being called a chucker. Coincidence? Just ask Sri Lanka's Muralitheran.
H Fox, USA

The decision to ban him from playing is a truly an act of racism.
Ali Rizvi, Pakistan/Nigeria

If Shoaib had a problem with his bouncer then the ICC should have declared his bouncer as a no ball. It was an unfair decision to have him banned from playing cricket.
Sara Faiz, Pakistan/USA

ICC's hasty action call into question the competence of the current management. Dalmyia & Walcott should consider the positions and resign. As for the Australians it is time the grow up & get a life.
Sohail Hussain, UK

It seems that only the Aussie umpires have got problems with the actions of bowlers. They make sure that Australia does not lose any significant series played in Australia. I think the ICC should form a committee to scrutinise umpires too. So that they can ban umpires like Darrel Hair from officiating in International matches.
Ravi, UAE

Is Shoaib Akhtar being victimised? .....Brett Lee cleared in a flash......Shoaib having to agonise over ICC's decision....Pretty obvious I think! I say ban the racist Australian umpires
Mughal, UK

Why did the Aussies wanted Shoaib banned? - Pakistan 184/8(50 overs) Australia 139-all out! (39 overs) Shoaib Akhtar overs 7 maidens 1 runs 31 wickets 3! Does that answer everyone's question.
Amran Mohammed, UK

Shoaib has played in many countries but so far been no balled only in Australia so there are only two possibilities. Either the Australian umpires are the most knowledgeable about Cricket rules in the whole world or they need to be helped by ICC to get the correct understanding of the rules.
Wolfgang Bagwe, Germany

If he committed the offence then he should be punished, why is it if a judgement goes against any non-white it can be called racist?
James, England

Shoaib didn't have any trouble before going to Australia. I guess the Aussies can't take any more. Shoaib is faster than Waqar, There might be another bowler faster than Shoaib. Now the least Aussies could do is try to ban PCB for producing too many world class fast bowlers.
Samir Ahmed, Dubai/Pakistan/USA

I watched Australia v Pakistan in the first one-day match at the Gabba today. Brett Lee had an even more obvious 'chucking' action on several slow-mo deliveries. Kids like Brett and Shoaib are compromising their styles to try and reach the holy grail of 100mph. All of this whilst Glenn McGrath bowls much slower and takes many more wickets. Less speed...More accuracy! Ban the speed gun!
Nick Barnes, UK/Australia

Suspending, to ruin the whole career of that great guy is certianly unfair.
Jamshed Afzal, Pakistan

If there is one thing that the whole sudden "controversy" over Akhtar's bowling action has proved to me, it is that everyone out there at the crease in international cricket is scared of the day when hopefully Akhtar matures as a bowler and starts unleashing his deliveries to batsmen with unpredictability between tight bowling (say right outside off!) and bodyline! That's when he will be a true representative of the infamous term used for Pakistani cricketers - "Cornered Tigers!"
Ali Samee, Pakistan/USA

Most bowlers experiment and innovate. Some may get unnoticed and few may not. We have television replays, if the 3rd umpire or the ground umpire detect a problem with the action then they declare a no ball and get on with the game. This is ridiculous to ruin a career after a bowler has cleared initial hurdles to represent his national team.
Vijay Ojha, India/UK

I think he got what he deserved.
Kamal Singh, USA

As a cricket fan coming from Sri Lanka I am fully criticising this action of the international cricket council. I am very grateful to Shoaib as a wonderful bowler giving eye-catching spectacle for millions of people all around the world. I think the ICC's main purpose is to de-activate the oncoming forces in south Asia as they tried to do for Muralitharan in Sri Lanka. I think now the time has come to unite the entire south Asians who are offended by the ICC's narrow purposes.
Samantha Dulip, Germany

I was shocked at the accusation. Having watched this fine bowler in action during the World Cup I never doubted the legality of his action. The arm does not straighten during delivery, therefore it is not a throw. I feel Murali does on a regular basis and having seen brief clips of Lee I think he is questionable (but he's Australian so no one is allowed to complain) but I have no trouble with Shoaib's delivery.
G.Starkey, UK

The thing I find hilarious is that the ICC didn't look into any of this earlier. It's not as if he has just changed his bowling action - he has been doing this for years. The problem is that the ICC should have looked at this (and Brett Lee's) action without having to wait for complaints from bitter opponents. Then if a complaint arose, the ICC could either tell Australia to shut-up or announce that Shoaib is banned.
Steve, UK

Surely we all know there is nothing wrong with the Shaoib's action and ICC should take strong notice of the matter. I put a simple question - why has the Bowlers action or questionable umpiring decisions taken only in Australia? This to me is a serious query and should be taken into notice immediately, for the better sake of international and Asian Cricket
Hisham Sarwar, Pakistan

The ICC are as keen as anyone to have a player Akhtar's quality playing international cricket
Andy, England
The ICC are as keen as anyone to have a player Akhtar's quality playing international cricket. He's a star and an icon to millions. He should be prepared to work with them to resolve this issue. I don't believe he's a cheat, but he does throw his quick ball - but frankly he doesn't even need it.
Andy, England

History proves it that the English and Australians are cry babies. They just wanna win in what ever way they can. Be it sledging, accusations, changing rules and the list goes on and on. And not just in cricket but in other sports as well such as field hockey.
Haider Hasan, UK

I think the reason for this suspension is due to the fact that Shoaib has got the Aussie team shaking in their pants. By eliminating a world class pace bowler, this should give them a slightly better chance of beating Pakistan
Fizzy, UK

Why is it that every decision a non-white person/group dislikes is racially motivated? Blaming everything on racism, "it's only because I'm black", mentality just deflects things from the real issue. i.e. is Shoaib bowling or "chucking"?
Jez Jester, UK

I personally feel Shoaib is a genuine fast bowler, and a breath of fresh air to modern cricket. He should work hard to correct his action and give no excuse to the opposition. I hope my friends in Pakistan are not thinking that Australians planned any thing against them because its the ICC who banned him, even after he had played 3 tests against us.
Quintin Mc Phey, Austrailia

I do not know what you mean by 'some officials'. Rana did make the comment and was severely and publicly snubbed by the President of PCB, who called his comments "immature" and the fact that they were made "sad". Umpires are supposed to make decisions on chucking on the spot, with or without help from the third umpire. But, surely, Akhtar's action is neither so terribly suspect, nor that frequently so, to warrant a ban. Many present and past great fast bowlers have a snappy wrist action as part of their variety. Similarly, many international level bowlers do not have a swing exactly perpendicular to their shoulder at its highest point. In any case, what is the ban supposed to achieve? Why put a young man through this at this stage of his career, for one incident down under, for the first time in his reasonably long international and first class career? Australians have shown enormous talent and professionalism in cricket in recent years. It's time they and their umpires showed some sportsmen's spirit too.
Usman Khan, UK

The Aussies are getting too big for their boots. First they win most of the world cups in 1999 in sport (fair enough) and now they are trying to get players who pose a threat to them banned by brandishing them as 'cheats' without any substantiated evidence. And as for Mr/Mrs Bells comments from Australia claiming that the Pakistani's are cheats??...this just highlights the view of them being ARROGANT and saying what they like without proving it first. I am an England supporter but follow the Pakistani team as I think they are very talented and exciting to watch. To the people of Australia - GROW UP and STOP moaning!
John, UK

He is a fine bowler and is being victimised by the ICC.
Hugh Mattocks, Australia
It is interesting to note that at no time was he called for chucking during any of the tests between Australia and Pakistan. He is a fine bowler and is being victimised by the ICC.
Hugh Mattocks, Australia

Ball-tampering, bribery... this is just another sorry example of cheating that Pakistan is renowned for. Shoaib has been under scrutiny for some time now, and has had adequate time to fix his problems. However, true to form, Pakistan will cheat and then cry foul when it's exposed!
Eugene Thompson, England

In this era of high technology, is it so very difficult for a small bunch of experts to determine whether the elbow of a cricket bowler is bending while he delivers the ball? Or is the problem that some people because of vested interests do not want to accept the obvious? This controversy is disgraceful and indeed incredible.
Rajiv Rajan, India/USA

I am certain I speak for all Australian cricket fans when I say that I hope Shoaib returns to the game very soon. Given the international representation on the ICC Illegal Delivery Committee though, it is sheer nonsense to suggest that this is an 'Australian conspiracy'. Australia - like our friends in Pakistan - plays all sports hard on the field, but that's where it ends.
Andrew S, Australia

Pakistan have been "ACCUSED" of cheating for a number of years now but they have never been caught doing anything as blatant as what Atherton did a few years back. What did the ICC do about that? And funny how no-one seems to remember that. By the way Brett Lee's action is a joke and frankly my 10 year old son has a better & smoother action. But they judge & ban Shoaib on just 2/3 dodgy deliveries.
Sajid, UK

I think it is about time we banned all the cheating sportsman in this wonderful game, it may give England a chance to win a couple of games!
Andy English, England

I thought the game of Cricket was meant for building character - but here again the ICC has clearly used its authority to ridicule the game.
Munir Hatmi, Canada

To say that this is some sort of Australian racial conspiracy is complete rubbish.
Nathan Jon, Australia
Firstly, the THREE umpires who cited Shoaib for throwing on certain deliveries were a Zimbabwean, a New Zealander, and an Australian. To say that this is some sort of Australian racial conspiracy is complete rubbish and simply an attempt to divert attention from the issue at hand. Secondly, in citing Shoaib the umpires duly noted that he only appears to chuck on certain deliveries, when he is attempting to really dig it in fast and that this illegal action was only noticed after his recent shoulder injury and subsequent surgery. This explains why his action has not come under scrutiny until recently. Presumably his dilemma can be rectified since it is only a certain delivery which he is deemed to "throw" and hopefully he will be back soon.
Nathan Jon, Australia

Australians have made it a habit of accusing Pakistan of cheating. They are afraid of Pakistani fast bowlers. Whenever Aussies are beaten they accuse the other side of cheating, for example the case of Murlithern of Sri Lanka. On the other hand if you watch Aussies fast bowlers they do the same thing as Pakistani bowlers. I suggest Aussies must show sportsman spirit, not starting accusing other side.
Ali Gul Burki, Pakistan

Australia is the No1 test side in the world, but there press, players and the press, again, who put travelling countries under lots of pressure when they play:
1995/96 - Murali and Salim Malik were their victims.
1996/97 - Lara was put to the sword.
1997/98 - No need to worry it was England that was travelling - no pressure on the home players.
1998/99 - Shoaib was the latest Aussie victim.
It's a systematic attack which first starts with the press and then comes the players and umpires going all out. Finally comes the press again to kill off the matter. The attack is not racially motivated but basically against all their foes.
Rienzie, Malaysia

I don't think the decision was a racist one and I don't think there is anything wrong with Shoaib's bowling action. But why do the Australians always find something wrong with an Asian players? For example, they torture Muralitharan whenever he goes over there.
Joe, USA

Australians do not have it in them to play quality fast bowling. Or else why would this only happen in Australia?
C L Shastry, Finland
Such things make me think that the Australians do not have it in them to play quality fast bowling. Or else why would this only happen in Australia? I think Glenn McGrath is chucker and so is Bret Lee. But does it matter what the others think as long as your are not an Australian. Well, guys let us give Australians a torch to run around the world with, spreading the message of fairness in the game of cricket.
C L Shastry, Finland

It's not racially motivated. It's based on a win-at all-costs motivation perpetrated here in Australia against any team or player considered a serious threat. Many years ago an Australian captain ordered his brother to bowl under-arm to win a match against New Zealand. That determination to win by legally cheating if necessary continues to this day.
Ray Marsh, Australia

Australia is known for producing great cricketers but they are crybabies and chickens. Shoaib will be back insha allah and this time with even more power.
Altaf Shaikh, Pakistan

This is one of the worst decisions that this board has ever made. They are taking from us one of the assets of this beautiful sport. If a batsman make consecutive centuries he is would be a hero but when a bowler is amazing, he is banned. Shame on this cricket board.

The Australian connection in all this cannot be ignored. Australia has a history of applying double standards to cricketing issues. Remember the Salim Malik-Shane Warne- Mark Waugh match fixing controversy? Sadly fast bowlers and off spinners from the sub-continent are targeted by the Australian umpires and the vile and dishonest media. An Australian umpire will never report a successful Australian cricketer like Brett Lee or Mark Waugh (his off spinners are extremely suspect) for throwing irrespective of his action.
K. Ramesh, Australia

I think Australian captain Steve Waugh hit the nail on the head. There are many bowlers in cricketing history who would have bowled a delivery that was controversial. It is simply absurd to ban a bowler for what, at worst, was one inappropriate ball. A bowler should be banned if he persistently bowls illegal deliveries and has been warned before. ICC should reconsider their decision against Shaoib's bowling action and Shoaib should be abundantly cautious with his delivery action in future. ICC is a mature and respectable body and should have acted like one.
Omar Khan, Pakistan

Will the ICC now scrutinise the action of other "suspect" bowlers and act as decisively?
Alan, Malaysia
The question can only be answered over time. The ICC acted decisively in this instance, and an example has been set. Will the ICC now scrutinise the action of other "suspect" bowlers and act as decisively?
Alan, Malaysia

Australians think that they are the Policemen of the cricket world. Everytime an Asian bowler is a threat to them, they try to take him out of the game. Take Murali for instance. His strike rate of wickets per test is higher than McGrath or Warne. Only Donald has a better strike rate than Murali. The Australians went out of their way to ban him. Now unfortunately it is the turn of Shoaib. Twenty years ago it was said that Indian and Pakistani umpires were the worst in the world. Now I can say that the worst cheats are the Australian umpires. The most incompetent umpires are Ian Robinson, Steve Dunne and B.C.Cooray.
C.Ramachandra, Sri Lanka

He has played more than a dozen Tests of about or nearabout 50 ODI...and never have been warned/noballed. Not even in the World Cup - where his every delivery was minutely analysed as he was the World Cup sensation. Now suddenly...??? There definitely is more than just Cricket involved here.
Sohail Arshad, Pakistan

Though I myself noticed during the world cup that Shoaib's action was a suspect, I was not confident as to really what is considered as "Chucking". The decision to ban was a harsh decision and to know that it happened after the Australian tour it makes all the more doubtful as the Australians are the worst cricketers in terms of playing the game honestly. I think the whole Australian team and their umpires have to be banned for bringing disrepute to the game and spoiling their image. Their ability to play the game is extraordinary but their tactics are downright thuggish.
Girish, Bangalore, India

Disgraceful, when the West Indies were doing well the same accusations abounded. With countries like England clamouring for investigations. They screamed that fast bowling was damaging the game. If there was a contest for losing disgracefully how would you choose between Australia, New Zealand and England? Shoaib should act intelligently - get a lawyer, a VCR and sue the ICC. The bowling actions of English and Australian cricketers cannot and will not withstand the intense scrutiny Shoaib has been under.
Francesca Adeji, United Kingdom

During the Muralitharan episode, someone (I believe it was Pakistan's Abdul Qadir) said "If you are on a witch hunt for a suspect bowling action go after Dharmasena". No way, the Aussies only go after match winners.
Jayanath Perera, Singapore

Australian umpires and cricketers have made some pathetic decisions like this one. I would not go as far as to say that the ICC is racist but I would claim that Shoaib's bowling action is perfectly fine. I watched a video tape of the World cup and saw Shoaib's accused delivery in perfectly slow motion. All he does is raise the ball from the end of his hip behind his shoulder and across his body in a perfectly straight motion. And although this is an unusual action it is perfectly legal. I hope that he gets cleared and can play in the upcoming series...
Jeff Turner, Australia

Accusations of racism on the part of the ICC aren't going to get him back in the game.
Sana Shafqat, Pakistan/UK
Shoaib Akhtar should have been cautioned rather than suspended. Certainly the harsh decision of the ICC raises suspicions of bias, but I think that legal proceedings should continue and Akhtar should appeal the decision. Accusations of racism on the part of the ICC aren't what are going to get him back in the game. A reversal of the decision will.
Sana Shafqat, Pakistan/UK

I am sorry for the Rawalpindi Express. I used to admire his ability to bowl fast. But I support ICC's decision. If he is chucking the ball he needs to get help and re-train himself and if he is really good he will once again prove it to the world. I am confident about that. Bottom line. No one should get away scot-free after breaking RULES in this 'CIVILIZED' world.
Mohan Rao, USA

To ban Shoaib on the basis of one match, particularly after he has been judged by the world's best umpires during the recent world cup in the UK without any questions on his bowling action, is worrying. The Australian cricket team is one of the best in the world today. However, some questionable decisions by Australian umpires in Australia's favour at crucial points in matches recently, coupled with the alleged "sledging" for which the Australians have developed a particular reputation, has cast a shadow over their achievements. It seems when ever a team visits Australia, a controversy is guaranteed.
Umar, Pakistan

I would have certainly agreed to the ICC committee's decision regarding Shoiab's action if it was decided by the whole committee. Only 6 members were present who awarded the decision. I feel that Shoiab should not have been suspended because of a single delivery, rather he should have been cautioned. This matter is pretty suspicious since Shoaib has played in a number of one day internationals and tests and played under world class umpires and referess during World Cup 99. Therefore I feel he is being treated unjustly
Arshad Godil, Pakistan

I do think that the decision is racially motivated, as whenever any team from the Indian sub-continent travels there, there is some controversy. Australia should use a neutral umpire as the quality of umpiring from Australia and New Zealand is going from bad to worse. The ban on Shoaib is very harsh.
Ashutosh Gandhi, USA

I don't have any objection about ICC concern over Shoib's bowling style but may I ask these 2 questions:
Why is a player from Pakistan, India or Bangladesh always picked up for a possible fault in technique? Why do Australians always complain? If they don't have enough talent they should be morally mature enough to appreciate other countries' talent.
Anand Singh, Indian American

Yes! He should not only be banned from international cricket but also be fined for his rude behaviour which he used to show during bowling. I am not a cricket expert but even then I can make out his chucking in action.
Saurabh Kaushik, USA (Indian)

You know there is a game called cricket, that I have played for years. On rare occasions a bowler is suspected of chucking the ball, usually by a batsman in trouble. There are two men on the field called umpires. A chucked ball is usually met by an initial warning from the umpire, after which a reccurence is called a "no ball", giving the batting side a re-delivery and a run. That is the gentlemen's way of playing the game called cricket. What's happening here is far from that.
Jamal Khan, USA

Cricket is a game not a political battlefield.
Asim Sheikh, USA
Cricket is a game not a political battlefield. I feel sorry for everybody involved in this fiasco and especially for the bowler in question who has to prove his abilities to these dirty politicians. He is the fastest bowler on the face of this Earth. I urge every cricket fan around the world to make efforts to enjoy the games and appreciate what these young athletes are bringing to the game. And for us politicians to remember not to muddy the grounds of any game.
Asim Sheikh, USA

I don't belive that the ban was racially motivated but with an Indian at the head of the ICC committee an obvious reason projects itself. It's true that Shoaib Akthar's action is "suspect" but that is only in the one delivery, his bouncer. Unlike Shane Lee who seems to be throwing the bowl every delivery, Shoaib could be the victim of Indian victimisation.
Mohammed Arif, Pakistan

I think the ICC handled it badly as there are quite a few bowlers who have weird actions and bend their arms, but that are playing right now. I think the ICC should discuss that with players and management and shouldn't take the step too early. It seems to me that they are in hurry or something.. which created that discussion of racism. The ICC has never been consistent such as where were their members when Javed was hit by Lillee, or when Artherton's was rubbing the ball with some stuff. Where was the ICC that time? I think he is being victimised just for being Pakistani.
Tahir Qamar, USA

I think the Australians are to blame for creating and spreading such nonsense. Seems like their umpires and media have problems with everybody. Instead of performing their real tasks they picked up a new venture of creating and spreading rumours and false allegations. Shoaib is definitely being punished for misinformation provided and fed by the Australian media and umpires. Australia should be stopped now and the ICC should create some checks and balances to safeguard the future of talented players like Shoaib and others.
Asif Ahmed, US

There is definitely some bias. Whenever Pakistan is in Australia some sort of controversy always emerges. Last few times it was ball tampering and bribery. This time it's about S. Akhtar. How could a career of a bowler be judged by just a couple of deliveries. He has taken part in over a dozen test matches and numerous one-day internationals. To judge a star like Akhtar by just a few deliveries is not fair to him, the team, and the country that he represents. He is a world class bowler and there should be more of a consistent evidence to prove his wrong doing than just a few deliveries.
Khurram Malghani, Pakistan/USA

I can't believe that a fine bowler like Akhtar is being banned from bowling. Although I am an immigrant from Pakistan, it doesn't mean that I am favouring my countrymen. His action is worth watching and it would be a dilemma for cricket and fans to see him out.
Akhlaq Zafar, USA

NO. He has been suspended under doubt after being watched for a period of time by the ICC. Still his case is under study. Besides, many professional cricketers do suspect his bowling action. So, let's wait and watch. But, his bowling actions ARE doubtful.
Shardool Vyas, India/US

ICC don't want a Pakistani Bowler to get 100 mph record, they have a victim, Rawalpindi express.
Raza Kashani, Pakistan

I think PCB has some very valid points that the video footage shown to ICC panel contained only the deliveries that Shoaib bowled with extra pace/bounce, only six out nine members were present during the proceedings and why none of the umpires objected to his bowling action during all the matches prior to the Australian tour.
Moreover, why is it that these two umpires see problems with Asian bowlers only? They tried to have Muralitharan banned from playing international cricket since they considered him to be a chucker.
Although the ICC ruled against their complain. Hopefully they will consider the appeal filed PCB seriously and save the career of this exciting bowler. Has anyone watched Brett Lee's bowling action closely while he tries to bowl with an extra pace? I guess in his case the umpires totally go blind.
Sofian Ansarie, USA

Mr. Shafqat Rana's statement cannot be ignored as without merit. I remember during an English tour in the mid-70s (76-77 I believe), John Lever, was lethal during the first two Tests. During the third Test at Madras, the Umpire noticed Vaseline on the ball he was carrying. Despite India's strong protest, Mr. Lever was let off with a slap on the wrist. Also, didn't ICC fail to taken action against Dennis Lillee for kicking Javed Miandad.
Ken Bhandary, USA (Indian origin)

If Shoaib throws the ball, then I guess most of the other bowlers who have a text book bowling action THROW the ball.
Mohammed Shafiq, England

I do not think that Shoaib is being victimised. I think that his action may have slightly changed after the injury he suffered a few months ago. The ban was really harsh in the sense that this small anomaly can be rectified while he is playing. His bowling action is okay except for one or two types of deliveries. The ICC judgement should not have been based on only suspect deliveries to cover whole of bowler's career.
Sohaib Talal, Pakistan/Canada

I don't like to think that it is racially motivated, but would like to say that it is about time the Australians start using Neutral Umpires. Let them judge what is right and wrong. The players from Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan had to first play the criticism and bad decision of the umpires before they play the Australian team. It takes only one bad decision to disturb the momentum of a five-day game.
I Salim, USA

What a load of nonsense. The nine-man committee of the ICC which met to consider Akhtar's action was headed a president, Jagmohan Dalmiya, who is Indian, and by the chairman, Sir Clyde Walcott, who is West Indian. To accuse them of racism against a Pakistani is utter diatribe.
Furthermore, the ICC Development Programmes are in action throughout the world promoting cricket in the most deprived parts of South Africa and the Asian subcontinent. To say that the ICC is motivated by racism is total rubbish.
More relevant is the accusation that only six of the nine committee members attended a conference call discussing Akhtar's action before a decision was made, and that a very partial selection of his deliveries was scrutinised. I certainly don't feel that Akhtar is a chucker. But the ICC must have its reasons for suspending him. Whilst I disagree with the ICC findings, I very doubt that any of these reasons have anything to do with his race.
Simon Ashall, UK

I don't think so, Imran Khan admitted to ball "manipulation" - in other words "cheating". This does not help the Pakistani team and puts them under a bad light! They were even accused of "throwing" the World Cup Final.
Anil, UK

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See also:
04 Jan 00 |  Cricket
Shoaib returns despite ICC review
31 Dec 99 |  Cricket
Shoaib shock at 'chucking' ban

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