Cricket: Shoaib action under Notts investigation

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The Independent Online
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE are determined to get to the bottom of reports questioning the legality of Shoaib Akhtar's bowling action. Accusations that the county's major signing is a "chucker" have cast a cloud over the Pakistani bowler.

Claims have been made in Australia, where Shoaib and his team have just been defeated 3-0 in their Test series, that his unorthodox delivery style is being referred to the International Cricket Council for investigation.

The man acknowledged at last summer's World Cup as the world's fastest bowler, and signed in a reported pounds 100,000 deal by Nottinghamshire for the 2000 season, has dismissed the suggestions and is being backed by the Pakistani management.

The ICC has refused to confirm or deny whether Shoaib has been reported to them, but that has not stopped Nottinghamshire taking steps to try to settle the matter conclusively via cricket's world governing body.

The Trent Bridge spokesman, Mike Newell, said: "Obviously we are concerned if it is true, but we do not know that it actually is. We have been in touch with the ICC, but they will make no comment except to say that if a player is reported any findings are referred back to the home board."

Following the reports in Sydney's Daily Telegraph that a video of Shoaib's action - particularly for his faster ball - is being sent to the ICC for analysis, the Pakistan manager, Yawar Saeed, claimed no mention has been made to him or any of his colleagues from the Test match referee, John Reid.

"I wish the cricket world had more Shoaibs," Saeed said. "He is an extremely exciting player."

Shoaib, however, was more blunt in his response to the report. "It's all crap," he said.