Mohammad Hafeez has undergone a biomechanics test at Brisbane’s International Cricket Council (ICC)-accredited laboratory yesterday, almost five months after his bowling ban ended.
The off-spinner bowled three overs with his new action under the unforgiving glare of laboratory cameras in an attempt to make a return to the bowling crease and improve his chances coming back into the national fold for the tour of Australia.
Hafeez was banned from bowling in international cricket after his action was deemed illegal for the second time during Pakistan’s ODI series against Sri Lanka last July.
In his penultimate match as a bowler, Hafeez returned his best-ever ODI figures of 4-41 but the 36-year-old’s batting form dipped drastically on the tour of England earlier this year. That forced the management’s hand and he was left out of the team for the home series against the West Indies and the ongoing tour of New Zealand.
However, the selection committee is keen to bring him back for the tour of Australia considering his vast experience, but to regain his berth Hafeez must clear his biomechanical test and earn his spot as an all-rounder.
The Brisbane lab will hand over the report of his test to the ICC, who are expected to reveal the findings within the next two weeks.
Hafeez confident of clearing test
The 36-year-old said he is confident of clearing the test and making a return to the national team as an ‘all-rounder’.
“I am happy with the test procedure and hope to clear it,” said Hafeez after the conclusion of his bowling test. “I want to thank my fans for their support.”
Hafeez is to return to Karachi straight away, where he will feature in his departmental side SNGPL’s Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Super Eight match against WAPDA at the National Stadium of Karachi under lights and with a pink ball.
Real test will be during match conditions: Qasim
Former chief selector and left-arm spinner Iqbal Qasim feels Hafeez can make a useful contribution to the team if he does clear his test but said he must also prove himself when bowling in a high-pressure international match.
“Getting clearance is the first step but I feel the real test for Hafeez would be when he bowls in a high-pressure international match,” said Qasim. “The biggest challenge — for a bowler who remodels his action — is overcoming the habit of delivering the ball with his natural action. When you get hit for boundaries, do you return to your old action or continue to bowl with the new one; at times it becomes a subconscious decision and in such a situation the bowler can err,” Qasim told the Pakistan based news outlet The Express Tribune.
Selector hoping for Hafeez return
Selector Tauseef Ahmed is also hopeful of Hafeez’s return to the bowling crease and the former Test off-spinner echoed Qasim’s sentiments but feels the Sargodha-born only has minor tweaks to make.
“Yes we would have to wait and see how effective he is after remodelling his action, yet I feel that his chink was never that great to begin with,” he said. “Hafeez only needed to work on his delivery stride and had to eliminate the pause in his bowling action. That shouldn’t be too taxing and there’s no doubt that his return as a bowler can bolster the team in the tough assignments ahead.”