Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Australia left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe believes that the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) rule of bowlers being allowed to flex their elbow a maximum of 15 degrees while bowling is more than fair.
O’Keefe’s comments come after six bowlers have been reported for suspicious actions since July 2014, with the most recent being Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal.
“I think originally when the laws came in you were allowed zero degrees,” O’Keefe told the Sydney Morning Herald. “They brought in 15 degrees to give blokes that leeway. If you go past it in my mind you’ve been given a little bit of room and if you’re going past that 15 degrees, you’re taking the p**s.
“I’m sure there are guys that have got reasons why and if physically they can’t bowl legally, then fair enough. But the rules are in place for a reason and all throughout the game guys will try and push the rules to a certain point, but I think once you step over that line you have to pay the price, whatever that is at ICC level. It’s not fair, to be honest.
“I’m glad that they [ICC] are not going further with it as 15 degrees is enough. It should be zero, really. You should be trying to bowl with a straight arm.”
O’Keefe was also recently included in Australia’s Test squad for the upcoming series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
Since many of the pitches in the United Arab Emirates are spin-friendly, O’Keefe will be working closely with legendary Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who is currently working as Australia’s spin consultant.
In fact, O’Keefe and Muratlitharan were team-mates when they played for the now-defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
“Although we’re two different types of bowlers, he has still got a great understanding of the game so it’d be nice to rehash some of that with him,” O’Keefe said. “I look forward to seeing him and just learning off him.
“The game isn’t all about skill. Skill will get you there but the rest of it is tactics and how to bowl to a batter with what you’ve got and Murali obviously could do well because he could spin it both ways. But that did not stop him knowing what length to bowl, what line to bowl, and what fields to set.”