LAHORE: Pakistan off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez has been reported for a suspect bowling action during the third one-day international against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi, the International Cricket Council said on Thursday. Pakistan had won the game thanks to Hassan Ali’s five-for and sealed the series with two matches still to go. The ICC said in a statement the match officials’ report, which was handed over to the Pakistan team management, cited concerns about the legality of the 37-year-old’s bowling action during the match on Wednesday. “Hafeez’s bowling action will now be scrutinised further under the ICC illegal bowling action regulations. He is required to undergo testing within 14 days, and, during this period, Hafeez is permitted to continue bowling in international cricket until the results of the assessments are known,” added the ICC press release. The report leaves Pakistan to once again ponder the prospect of doing without a man who is, in some situations, central to the balance of their ODI bowling attack. Hafeez only returned to bowling duties for Pakistan at the start of this year, in the ODI series against Australia. This is the third time that his action has been reported as suspect. He was first suspended from bowling in December 2014 before he was cleared the following April. His action was reported for a second time in June 2015 and as this was his second suspension within 24 months of the initial suspension, he was suspended from bowling in international cricket for 12 months from July 2015. On 17 November 2016, Hafeez underwent a reassessment of his bowling action at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane and was allowed to resume bowling after his action was found to be legal. If Hafeez’s action is now found to be illegal again after testing, it will be treated as a first report. That means he can rectify it and apply for it to be reassessed and if it passes that test, he can return to bowling. Pakistan will dearly hope that his action is either found to be legal, or, if he is suspended, he can return swiftly. Hafeez bowled eight overs and took one for 39 in the match which Pakistan won by seven wickets to secure an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-match series. Pakistan has a history of problems with illegal bowling actions with quick bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Shabbir Ahmed, as well as spinners Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi and Bilal Asif all reported in the past. Ajmal’s career ended after he failed to achieve the same success with a re-modelled action in 2015 while Bilal’s action was cleared after reassessment. Under the new ICC regulations, all bowlers are allowed to bend their arm by 15 degrees – beyond which the action is deemed illegal. Hafeez has claimed 136 wickets in 193 one-day internationals, also taking 52 Test scalps and 46 wickets in Twenty20 internationals. Published in Daily Times, October 20th 2017.