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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 March, 2005, 16:59 GMT
New ICC bowling rules take effect
Muttiah Muralitharan
Murali's unusual action has repeatedly caused controversy
The International Cricket Council's new regulations to combat suspect bowling actions have come into force.

After approval from the 10 Test nations, bowlers will be allowed to straighten their arms to 15 degrees.

Umpires and match referees retain the responsibility for referring suspect actions and laboratories will analyse.

Exceeding the limit would mean an immediate suspension, and anyone reported twice within two years would be banned for at least 12 months.

No reported bowler will be permanently cleared, even if experts prove innocence, and bowlers may also be requested not to use certain deliveries, such as the doosra pioneered by Muttiah Muralitharan.

Sunil Gavaskar
The changes will promote consistency in the way in which reported actions are dealt with
Sunil Gavaskar

The original proposals were developed by a panel of former international cricketers, including Aravinda de Silva, Angus Fraser, Michael Holding, Tony Lewis and Tim May, along with ICC General Manager, David Richardson.

They were then endorsed by the ICC's Cricket Committee, chaired by former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar, before being sent to the Test nations in February.

"These recommendations have the endorsement of respected former cricketers who have played the game at international level and have a deep appreciation of the issues," Gavaskar said.

"While the detailed scientific evidence made the case for changing the previous process compelling, it is a cricketing decision, proposed by cricketers for cricketers.

"The changes will make the process quicker and fairer to all players and will promote consistency in the way in which reported actions are dealt with."

The new regulations are:

  • An acceptance that the focus of the Law concerning illegal actions is that it seeks to deal with the extension of the arm that is visible to the naked eye.

  • All bowlers will be permitted to straighten their bowling arm up to 15 degrees, which has been established as the point at which any straightening will become visible to the naked eye.

  • The introduction of a shorter, independent review process under the central control of the ICC, with immediate suspensions for bowlers found to have illegal actions.

  • The overhaul and standardisation of the bio-mechanical testing of bowlers to ensure that all tests in all laboratories are consistent in the way that they measure the degree of straightening.

  • Strengthening of the initiatives to deal with the issue at international and regional under-19 level.

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