Pakistan’s veteran allrounder Mohammad Hafeez says he is confident of resurrecting his career with a remodelled bowling action five months after having it declared illegal.
Spinner Hafeez’s action was reported as suspect during the first Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi in November and confirmed as illegal by biomechanical analysis in England.
He faces a crucial official test on his bowling in Chennai, India on Thursday and, at age 34, he has limited further chances for rehabilitation.
But Hafeez said he was not worried by the Chennai examination.
“I have worked on my action for the last five months and I am confident that I will clear the test,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
Under International Cricket Council rules, bowlers are permitted to straighten their arm up to 15 degrees in their action. This has been established as the point at which any straightening becomes visible to the naked eye.
Hafeez’s action went close to 24 degrees.
He had hoped to undergo a re-test in February to get himself cleared to play in the World Cup, but a calf injury put paid to that ambition.
“Unfortunately, I got injured before the World Cup and couldn’t undergo the test, but now I think I will clear the test and revive my career,” Hafeez said.
Besides Hafeez, Pakistan have been without spinner Saeed Ajmal, suspended for an illegal bowling action in September last year.
Ajmal cleared his action in February but was not considered for Pakistan’s World Cup squad.
“Every player has to pass through such phase. It was tough but now I am determined to come back with my bowling on the tour of Bangladesh,” Hafeez said.
Ajmal, 37, and Hafeez have both been included in the Pakistan squad for all three formats to be played in Bangladesh, starting with the first of three one-day internationals on April 17.
Pakistan and Bangladesh will also play a Twenty20 international and two Tests.
While speaking to reporters in Lahore, Hafeez took the opportunity to throw his support behind new ODI captain Azhar Ali, whose appointment to replace the retiring Misbah-ul Haq raised eyebrows.
But despite Azhar not being part of the one-day side for more than two years, Hafeez insisted he was the right man for the job and said Pakistan’s new-look side would prosper.
“The talent of the Pakistan team can’t be under-rated. I think all the new players are ready – it’s a new era. I think as a unit, we will give good results and are ready for the series,” he said.