Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 23rd 2014 Contents A64
Saturday, August 23, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
BULAWAYO---Zimbabwe spinner Prosper
Utseya has been reported for a suspected
illegal bowling action and must undergo
tests within 21 days, the International
Cricket Council said yesterday.
Utseya was reported by match officials
during Zimbabwe s third one-day interna-
tional against South Africa in Bulawayo on
Thursday, the ICC said in a statement.
He is the fourth offspin bowler in the
last two months to be scrutinised over his
action. Pakistan s Saeed Ajmal will also
undergo tests after being reported to the
ICC this month during a test series against
Sril Lanka offspinner Sachithra
Senanayake and New Zealand s Kane
Williamson were both banned from bowling
last month after tests concluded they had
Bowlers are not allowed to bend their
arms past a certain point in cricket to ensure
they aren t throwing.
The ICC said concerns were raised over
offspinner Utseya s faster delivery in Zim-
babwe s loss to South Africa in the final
ODI. The match officials report has been
handed to Zimbabwe s team manager.
Utseya is allowed to continue bowling in
internationals pending the results of the
The 29-year-old Utseya is Zimbabwe s
second highest all-time wicket-taker in
one-day internationals with 123 wickets in
He is an experienced one-day player and
was likely to appear in the upcoming tri-
angular series against Australia and South
Africa starting next week in Zimbabwe.
Pakistan s rustiness was a major talking
point ahead of the Test series, and it could
be an issue before the first ODI as well.
Pakistan s last 50-over match was the Asia
Cup final in March. They lost that game,
the second time they had lost to Sri Lanka
in a tournament where they had beaten
everyone else. They were both matches
Pakistan could have won, but Sri Lanka
showed a clear edge when it came to han-
dling the pressure moments.
It is an issue Pakistan will want to address
before the World Cup, and the return of
Younis Khan seems a step in that direction.
What this will do, though, is disturb a mid-
dle-order combination that doesn t seem
to require too much tinkering. Pakistan have
a decent set of batsmen in the ODI format,
with a group of younger players---Ahmed
Shehzad, Umar Akmal and Fawad Alam,
who scored a terrific century in the Asia
Cup final---settling in nicely among the more
Younis inclusion, in fact, could push
either Sharjeel Khan or Sohaib Maqsood,
or both, out of the eleven, and this is a sign
of a team trying to arrive at its best possible
batting combination. It isn t the worst prob-
lem for Pakistan to face. A bigger worry is
batting depth. Shahid Afridi batted at No
7 during the Asia Cup, and while he pulled
out a couple of blinders, it still seems a risky
ploy. Pakistan themselves seem to think so,
judging by the fact that they played an extra
batsman, Maqsood, at seven during their
warm-up match in Moratuwa.
Pakistan s bowling is also a concern, with-
out Saeed Ajmal, and potentially without
Junaid Khan, the extent of whose recovery
from concussion suffered during the second
Test is as yet unknown. During the warm-
up game against the Board President s XI,
the pace trio of Anwar Ali, Mohammad
Talha and Wahab Riaz went for 186 runs
in 26 overs.
The batsmen who took Pakistan apart
included Ashan Priyanjan and Thisara Perera,
who both made half-centuries at over a run
a ball. They might be vying for one place
in Sri Lanka s eleven at Hambantota, while
Lahiru Thirimanne, who captained the Board
President s XI and scored a duck, is likely
to play, considering he is Sri Lanka s vice-
Sri Lanka see a lot of long-term potential
in Thirimanne, and he illustrated this with
centuries in both matches against Pakistan
during the Asia Cup. But his form since
then, in all formats, has been worrying, and
it is also an issue for them that he tends to
bat much better in the top three than he
does at No 5, which is where he has slotted
in for most of his recent matches.
Perhaps he could open in this series, in
the absence of the injured Kusal Perera, but
he will need to score runs, one way or anoth-
er, to justify the faith Sri Lanka have shown
Thirimanne is only part of Sri Lanka s
larger concern over their batting in the long-
term, with Dinesh Chandimal also in the
process of trying to re-establish his inter-
national career. Till the World Cup, though,
they still have the services of the old firm
of Dilshan, Sangakkara and Jayawardene.
Sri Lanka will need to sort out their bowl-
ing combination, however, particularly in
the spin department. Sachithra Senanayake,
whom they have depended on for economy
over recent months, has been banned for
an illegal bowling action, and the selectors
still haven t made up their minds on Ajantha
Mendis, who is out of the squad now but
could well be back before their next series.
Rangana Herath tormented Pakistan in
the Tests and is part of the ODI squad, but
Sri Lanka will probably use him sparingly,
to manage his workload. Whether Seekuge
Prasanna and Suraj Randiv will allow that
remains to be seen.
Former India captain Rahul Dravid says he would
have preferred to wait till the end of India s tour
of England before making changes to the support
staff. Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Dravid said taking
such a decision in the middle of a tour was "tough
on everyone concerned."
"You don t have problems if people want to make
changes, it s part of professional sport. [But] there s
still not a lot of clarity on whether this is a long term
appointment or the changes we have seen are for
this series, so there s a bit of confusion around that,"
Dravid said. "Sometimes from a players perspective
that can be quite hard. I hope that s something Ravi
[Shastri] will handle quite well. All these players also
build relationships with support staff and as players
you do recognise that at some level you are actually
responsible for your own success and failure."
Ravi Shastri was named team director on Tuesday,
while Sanjay Bangar, Bharat Arun and R Sridhar were
named assistant coaches, sparking off a wave of spec-
ulation about Duncan Fletcher s future as head coach.
Dravid is of the view that "it will be up to him" to
decide whether he is comfortable in continuing in
the role in this "new kind of environment", wherein
he will have to report to someone at the ground.
Having worked extensively with Fletcher as a player,
as well as team mentor recently, Dravid said he got
along well with the players. "If you ask me, I think
he s got a lot of knowledge and I know having been
around the team that the team does respect him and
a lot of them get along very well with him and do
ask him for a lot of technical advice. There is a good
rapport between him and Dhoni."
Dravid was also confident that Shastri and Fletcher
would ensure they work together in the best interests
of the team. "Knowing the kind of people that they
are, they would not want to ensure that the players
see that there is an issue between them," he said.
"Like Ravi says, Duncan will still be the head coach,
he will still be running the team meetings and be
involved in the selection of the playing eleven. So I
hope there is no issue."
Even as the new support staff prepares to take
over, Dravid appreciated the work put in by bowling
coach Joe Dawes and fielding coach Trevor Penney
who have been asked to go on leave for the one-day
series. According to Dravid both did their jobs "very
professionally and tried to do the best they can.
Sometimes things don t work out."
Elaborating his point further, Dravid explained that
the role of the support staff is restricted to giving
players the best environment to succeed in. "The
support staff can t bat, bowl or catch for you. That s
why sometimes being in the support staff or being
a coach is a no-win situation because you might be
giving the guys the best possible advise and the best
possible training facilities but things don t work in
the field. You can still drop catches, you can still
have technical issues with the bat. Coaches can t
solve everything and as good players, deep down,
you know that."
With virtually an all-Indian support staff now in
charge, there has been talk that the BCCI will consider
only home-grown coaches going forward. Dravid
believes that while Indian coaches are coming up
and getting exposure in the IPL, nationality should
never be a factor in deciding on the right personnel
for the job. "What the team needs at the time they
should get," he said.
As a player, Dravid has worked with Shastri before,
and said his positive personality should benefit the team.
Recalling the period after the 2007 World Cup in the
West Indies when he was captain and Shastri came in
as interim manager after India s first-round exit, Dravid
said: "I thought Ravi was very good in the time that
he was there with the team. He s obviously got a lot
of experience that he has to offer as a player."
Zimbabwe's Utseya reported
over bowling action
Depleted attacks face off in series opener
Pakistani cricketer Saeed Ajmal, right, bowls as Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara stands beside during the fourth day of the first
test cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in Galle, Sri Lanka, on August 9. AP PHOTO
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