Taskin could hardly be warned

Mustafizur Rahman Khan

20th March, 2016 08:06:48 printer

Taskin could hardly be warned

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.

Since Taskin and Sunny were reported, I have been consulted by BCB regarding its response. Initially, ICC was insisting that they be tested immediately, i.e. on 9 March. I helped BCB draft correspondence pointing out that the testing could be deferred under the Regulations until after the preliminary matches. ICC concurred, and Taskin could play against Ireland and Oman.

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 Match Officials' Report which I saw earlier.

The Assessment did not find anything illegal with Taskin's stock and yorker deliveries. With respect to the 9 bouncers he was asked to bowl, they found that 3 were bowled using an illegal bowling action.

Here is where it gets interesting:

First, 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. The Match Officials' Report from the Netherlands match did not specify any particular delivery/type of delivery. Indeed, it simply stated that they were "concerned with the legality of the action". Be that as it may, he was not reported for his bouncer.

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. 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.

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, 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.

It should be noted here that Taskin was asked to bowl the bouncers in quick succession during the Assessment (9 in 3 minutes!), something which he would not be doing in match situations, as in T20, a bowler can bowl only one bouncer an over. The report shows that only 3 of his 9 bouncers were bowled with an illegal action; these were the deliveries which were also the slowest. Before the Assessment, Taskin had traveled a lot and went through preparation for and playing 3 international matches in a short period of time; it's natural that he was suffering from fatigue, and his technique on the odd delivery fell away when asked to bowl 9 bouncers in quick succession.

Secondly, 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. 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.

Thirdly, 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 that should he continue to bowl any of the specific type(s) of delivery for which he has been found to have an Illegal Bowling Action, he will run the risk of being cited a second time". 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.

In short, Taskin is the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

I have advised BCB to use the above to seek a review under Regulation 2.3.1, and later escalate it in arbitration up to the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Switzerland.

There is a limit to such farce.


Mustafizur Rahman Khan is a Supreme Court lawyer.