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Wagh's bowling action cleared but Shoaib still suffering - by Julian Guyer

LONDON, March 2 (AFP) - Warwickshire cricketer Mark Wagh had his bowling action cleared Friday following a meeting of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) bowling review group panel.

The 24-year-old former Oxford University captain - a specialist batsman and part-time off-spinner - was banned from bowling in competitive cricket in November after an England and Wales Cricket Board panel decided his action was unsatisfactory.

However, an ECB statement Friday said: "Having viewed new footage, the group cleared Mark's revised bowling action and lifted the suspension on his bowling that had been imposed at a meeting on 7 November 2000.

"Mark has worked with the coaching staff at Edgbaston and has succesfully remodelled his action so that he can bowl in accordance with Law 24.3."

Wagh has spent the last three months trying to correct the fault and Warwickshire bowling coach Steve Perryman said: "We have made a slight adjustment to Mark's wrist position, and that seems to have done the trick."

The Law - 'definition of fair delivery - the arm' - is one of the most contentious in the book.

It states: "A ball is fairly delivered in respect of the arm if, once the bowler's arm has reached the level of the shoulder in the delivery swing, the elbow joint is not straightened partially or completely from that point until the ball has left the hand.

"This definition shall not debar a bowler from flexing or rotating the wrist in the delivery swing."

Accusations of 'throwing' are among the most serious on-field charges that can be levelled against any cricketer and in the past bowlers branded 'chuckers' have had their careers cut short.

On Thursday Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar was reported for throwing for the second time in 16 months.

Doug Cowie and Steve Dunne, two of New Zealand's most senior umpires, queried Shoaib's action during Wednesday's one-day defeat of New Zealand in Dunedin.

International match referee Ranjan Madugalle has referred the matter to the International Cricket Council, the game's governing body, in London.

But Shoaib was not expected to play in the three-Test series against New Zealand starting on March 8 as his team management said he was unfit and would be returning to Pakistan.

Shoaib was intially banned in December, 1999, because of a suspect bowling action following a ruling from the ICC's illegal deliveries advisory panel.

He had been reported by New Zealand match referee John Reid after umpires Darrell Hair of Australia and Peter Willey of England questioned his action during Pakistan's third Test against Australia in Perth.

However, then ICC president Jagmohan Dalmiya overturned the ruling for one-day matches as he said Akhtar's suspect action only happened when he bowled bouncers, which are illegal in limited overs matches.

The ICC then allowed the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) the final say and he was duly cleared after he underwent schooling at the Australian Institute of Sport in Perth.

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