July 22, 2018

Taskin, a victim of ‘miscarriage of justice’

Taskin Ahmed

The suspension of Bangladesh speedster Taskin Ahmed over ‘illegal’ bowling action violates several provisions of the ICC regulations and Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) should seek a review of the decision, advised Mustafizur Rahman Khan, a Supreme Court lawyer who has advised BCB on legal matters before.

“Taskin is the victim of a miscarriage of justice,” concluded the expert in a Facebook post after pointing to the provisions of the ICC regulations that go against the decision to suspend the right-arm pacer.

On Saturday, The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced that independent assessments on tests carried out Chennai last week have found the bowling actions of Bangladesh’s Arafat Sunny and Taskin Ahmed to be illegal and, as such, both the bowlers have been suspended from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect.

Arafat’s analysis revealed that the elbow extension for majority of his deliveries had exceeded the 15 degrees’ level of tolerance permitted under the ICC regulations for the review of bowlers reported with suspected illegal bowling actions, while not all of Taskin’s deliveries were legal.

In a quick response to the decision, Supreme Court lawyer Mustafizur Rahman Khan wrote a status in social networking site Facebook where he claimed, “I have now gone through Taskin’s independent assessment report, which BCB forwarded to me. I also revisited the ICC regulations for the review of bowlers reported with suspected illegal bowling actions, and also Taskin’s initial oatch officials’ report which I saw earlier.”

The assessment did not find anything illegal with Taskin’s stock and yorker deliveries, according to Mustafizur. “With respect to the 9 bouncers he was asked to bowl, they found that 3 were bowled using an illegal bowling action,” he added.

In his status, Musfafizur noted that BCB had earlier consulted him regarding its response when the bowling actions of the two BD bowlers were reported after the Bangladesh-Netherlands qualifier match at Dharmashala.

“Generally, I do not give posts about my professional work, but since this issue concerns Taskin and the Tigers, I feel constrained to share this,” his status began with this statement.

As Mustafizur elaborated the grounds in the status, it became evident that the reporting of the match officials about the bowling action of Taskin was not specific, and hence did not comply with the regulations.

He argued,“According to regulation 2.1.1, the match officials’ report should detail ‘their concerns about the bowling action of the relevant player’, including, where relevant, whether those concerns relate to the player’s bowling action generally or whether they relate to one or more specific types of delivery.”

“For Taskin, the report simply stated that the match officials were concerned about the legality of the bowling action”. If one goes through the form for the report, it also requires the match officials to state the reasons why they are so concerned; in Taskin’s case, no such reason was given,” he continued.

“Hence, to begin with, there is also an issue of whether the match officials’ report was a competent/compliant one, on the basis of which there could have been an assessment in the first place,” he added

Besides the faulty reporting, the bowling test also violated the regulation, according to Mustafizur.

“Regulation 2.2.6 provides that “(d)uring the independent assessment, the player shall be required to replicate the specific bowling action for which he/she was reported.”

“The footage of his bowling in the match where he was reported is available. It shows that during the course of the match, he did not bowl any bouncer. Not even one. So, he could not have been reported for bowling a bouncer,” he added.

“It appears that during the Independent Assessment, Taskin was asked to bowl 9 bouncers. Even accounting for the fact that the ICC standard analysis protocols contained in annexure I of the regulations allow for Taskin to be asked to bowl, among others, a minimum of 6 bouncers, on a proper reading of regulation 2.2.6, such bouncers cannot be taken into account in his assessment, as he has not been reported for bowling a bouncer,” continued the legal expert.

“In this regard, to the extent there would appear to be a conflict between regulation 2.2.6 and the protocols, the regulation will prevail, as the protocols cannot override, and shall be regarded as supplemental to, the regulations,” he said.

Noting that Taskin’s action insofar as his good length (stock) delivery and yorker being found legal, and these being the only deliveries bowled during the course of the match for which he was reported, the lawyer concluded it is clear that he did not employ an illegal bowling action during the match in issue.

“Therefore, he cannot be suspended and his reporting by the match officials was wrong. The regulations are designed to ascertain whether the player bowled any illegal delivery during the match: the regulations do not contemplate suspending a bowler for delivering an illegal delivery in test conditions, when that delivery was not bowled during the match,” he recommended.

Bringing in more points in support of his argument, Mustafizur said,”Regulation 2.2.13 provides that “where the independent assessment concludes that the player employed an illegal bowling action during the independent assessment in respect of a specific type of delivery only, other than his stock delivery, the player will be allowed to continue bowling in International Cricket but subject to the warning…”

“Since Taskin’s stock delivery has been found legal, and only 3 of his 9 bouncers illegal, he can, at best, be warned, and not suspended,” he said.

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