Sports Law Blog
All things legal relating
to the sports world...
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Dark Days in the ICC

Sports fans in America and readers of this Blog no doubt have had their fill of NFL players suspended for spousal assault and of MLBers like the Orioles Chris Davis removed from the game for taking banned substances like Ritilin. (Ritilin! Only fifth grade boys with sphilkes should be allowed to take such a thing.)

But athletes behaving badly are not confined to these shores. Consider the hubbub brewing in the lands where Cricket is king. The International Cricket Council has just suspended indefinitely one of the sport’s real stars, Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal. Ajmal is what Cricket fans know as an off spin bowler, meaning he uses his fingers and wrist to spin the ball toward a right-handed batsman or away from a lefthander. Essentially, he throws what we in the colonies think of as a slider. And he does it better than anyone.

Using the magic of videotape and rather sophisticated testing equipment at its headquarters in Dubai, the Council found definitive proof that Ajmal (sit down if you are squeamish) bowled all his deliveries with an elbow flex greater than the legal limit of 15 degrees. That’s right: greater than 15 friggin degrees.

As you probably know, a cricket bowler (think pitcher) is not allowed to straighten his arm and throw the ball (the cricketeers call this “chucking” and the result is a “no ball”). Only his shoulder’s rotation can provide velocity. The legal limit of straightening the elbow is 15 degrees and, as I said before, Ajmal’s elbow routinely went beyond that limit.

The last time Cricket had such a controversy was the famous “no ball” scandal of 1995, when Australian Umpire Darrell Hair no balled Sri Lankan bowler Muttiah Muralitharan seven times in three overs for throwing, calling the Shri Lankan’s actions “diabolical.” When the Council investigated the incident, it found the bowler had a congenital elbow deformity that caused his peculiar delivery. The ICC later found the Umpire, who received numerous death threats after the match, guilty “of bringing the game into disrepute.”

Let it be said, we shrink from no controversies here at the Sports Law Blog. We abhor Ajmal’s suspension and consider the Council’s action just dreadful.


Post a Comment