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Pakistan opener Mohammed Hafeez likely to appear for bowling test

Pakistan selector says Hafeez's clearance will add the much-needed stability in the bowling department

Hafeez hasn't bowled in international cricket for almost a year

Discarded Pakistan spinner Mohammed Hafeez is likely to appear for another biomechanics test within a fortnight, after completing his one-year ban imposed on him by the ICC for having an illegal action. His elbow flexed in excess of 15 degrees (the tolerance level allowed by ICC during the test carried out in Chennai in July 2015. He was flagged in the Test series against Sri Lanka last year.  

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Officially the ban ended during the fourth day of the Lord’s Test as Pakistan recorded a historic win. Since the ban, Hafeez has been working tirelessly on fixing his bowling action. He has sweated it out at the National Cricket Academy as well as in the practise sessions with the national team.

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But, his progress was halted after he sustained a knee injury during the ICC World T20 in India. He is slowly recuperating and is likely to appear in the ICC-accredited Loughborough biomechanics lab towards the end of the ongoing Test series.

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A former Test off-spinner and national selector Tauseef Ahmed feels that Hafeez’s clearance will lend the much-needed stability and cushion to Pakistan’s bowling attack. “Hafeez isn’t expected to return during the Test series, but his return will lend balance to the team,” he said. “Hafeez has a great economy rate and his record against left-handers is as good as any offspinner's in the game. His return will help us in all three formats.” Tauseef added.

“Hafeez’s problem stems from the pause just before he delivers the ball,” said Tauseef. “That pause forces him to generate more power using his elbow, which then bends while delivering the ball. All he needs to do is minimise the pause.”

He also added that unlike many other spinners Hafeez doesn’t use his elbow that much as he has strong wrist and fingers. He wants Hafeez to use his wrist more to remove the flex from his action.

“If he starts using his wrist a little more, he will easily regain his old touch with a modified action,” added Tauseef. “His elbow flex isn’t too high and I am confident that he won’t lose much of his old trickery with a new action,” he concluded.

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