England batsmen constantly have trouble picking up mystery spin deliveries
England are set to continue using a different procedure to test bowlers who are suspected of having an illegal action, which many see as a major disadvantage to all the players in the country.
ESPNcricinfo launched an investigation into the matter and found out that England use completely different testing methods, which are not recognised by the International Cricket Coucil (ICC).
Any England bowler, male or female, suspected of having an illegal action are sent to the University of Western Australia in Perth, where they undergo a thorough examination which confirms whether their action is legal or not.
England have been known to struggle against spin, which was very evident against Pakistan in January, when Saeed Ajmal continuously used mystery deliveries to bamboozle the England batsmen.
With the team now heading to India after losing their number one Test team ranking to South Africa over the summer, England will have to find an answer to playing the unorthodox spin bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha, who both demolished New Zealand in August, if they are to have any chance of winning the series.
However, the problem with England’s spinners are that they all bowl orthodox deliveries and focus on the basics rather than deliveries like the carrom ball or the doosra.
The last England bowler who attempted to use a doosra was Maurice Holmes in 2011, and he was immediately warned by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to stop bowling deliveries of that nature.
Dr Mark King, who is a senior lecturer at Loughborough University and the man responsible for running the tests on England’s bowlers, believes that his testing methods are much more accurate compared to those of the ICC.
Dr King is so convinced of his testing methods that he refused to acknowledge the ECB’s request of having his bowling tests mirror that of the ICC’s.
Speaking exclusively to ESPNcricinfo, Dr King said: “I have refused to copy the University of Western Australia approach because I feel it is not as accurate, we think our approach is more appropriate. I feel the ECB have their house in order on this issue. We have published a validation of our procedure and we do not believe UWA have.”
Both the University of Western Australia and Loughborough use a method which involves putting reflective markers on key areas of the bowler’s body, and measuring the amount of movement present when filming the bowler bowl.
However, the difference between the two universities is where the reflective markers are placed.
“At UWA they place the sensors over soft tissue, while we place them over the joints, and if you put the sensors in different places – wrong places – you end up with different numbers. You end up with wrong answers. The ICC do not fund our research, but they have encouraged us to continue our work, we hope that, in the next six months or so, we’ll be able to publish a follow-up paper that provides further evidence. The ICC are trying to do the right things. It is just that there is some discrepancy between the methods we apply. We continue to do what we do and the ICC are comfortable with what UWA do,” Dr King added.
The ICC have admitted that England’s testing methods are different to theirs, but denied speculation that they were more precise.
Speaking exclusively to ESPNcricinfo, a spokesman for the ICC said: “It would be wrong to say that the results are more stringent, the current regulations are based on the University of Western Australia’s methods and measurements so any change to that would require different parameters.”
Dr King agreed with with the view of the ICC, and added: “No-one has demonstrated that the numbers are bigger or smaller with our methods or the UWA methods, the numbers are different, yes, but not necessarily bigger.”
Initially, the ECB stated that their testing methods were “identical” to those of the ICC’s, but after ESPNcricinfo released their investigation findings, the Board immediately withdrew their claim.