In a statement issued on Saturday, the ICC sought to address doubts raised by the University of Western Australia (UWA) – formerly the sole biomechanical testing centre for bowling actions – over the reliability of the tests that have led to several players being banned from bowling in international cricket.
Following recommendations made by its Cricket Committee in June, the ICC encouraged umpires to report suspect actions with greater confidence.
Subsequently, five bowlers – Kane Williamson, Sachithra Senanayake, Saeed Ajmal, Prosper Utseya and Sohag Gazi – have been reported, tested, and banned from bowling in international cricket.
West Indies’ Sunil Narine was also a recent though called in the India-staged Champions League T20 competition.
Rejecting “any suggestion that bowlers are being targeted depending on which region they come from”, the ICC stressed that the “concerns of umpires relate solely to the bowling action of the player”.
The ICC backed the accuracy and consistency of the procedures used during the testing of these bowlers, and said the ICC’s “lead human movement specialists” conducted the tests on every bowler reported since June.
One of the UWA’s concerns about the new testing protocol was the use of two-dimensional match footage to determine whether bowlers are bowling with the same action while undergoing testing.
The ICC made “no apology” for this approach.
“Prior to testing, the ICC reminds the bowlers that in order for the test to be valid they must replicate the action displayed in the match footage obtained from the spells cited by the umpires in their report. During the tests, bowlers are provided with comparative high speed video feedback and if a bowler appears to be using a different action during the test, they are encouraged to replicate their match action. The ICC makes no apology for this.”
In March 2014, the UWA had withdrawn from its partnership with the ICC. Jacqueline Alderson, an associate professor in biomechanics at UWA, had said this was because the UWA was “aggrieved by the ICC leveraging our research without our knowledge or permission.”
Rebutting “any inference that it has copied the UWA’s methods, or misused the UWA’s intellectual property in developing its testing protocol,” the ICC said the “recent articles present no evidence to support this contention, and instead include a number of points that contradict this assertion.”
The ICC also suggested that the UWA had “unfairly maligned” the staff at the new testing centres by raising concerns over their experience and training, and said both its newly accredited centres in Brisbane and Chennai had “world-class facilities and highly-qualified staff”, who had “tested dozens of bowlers using the ICC testing protocol”.
The ICC stated its aim of accrediting testing centres in each of its five regions, and said it was in talks with a university in South Africa, following which it would seek to identify a facility in the Americas.