LAHORE: After a long delay of around eight years owing to lack of consistent policies and complete indifference, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has finally launched its own biomechanics lab that will be vital in avoiding illegal bowling actions in future.
PCB chairman Shaharyar M. Khan, while inaugurating the lab at LUMS here on Monday, also announced that the Hafeez Kardar School Cricket Championship would start in the forthcoming domestic cricket season.
“The laboratory contains all the equipment and facilities required to meet international standards and to get ICC’s accreditation,” Shaharyar said at a media briefing after inaugurating the lab.
PCB chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed and vice-chancellor of the university accompanied Shaharyar at the briefing.
“It is a great achievement that a project, which could not be launched during the last eight years, has now become functional. The lab will be of immense value in helping curb the trend of illegal bowling actions prevailing among [budding] bowlers in the country,” he added.
“Mohammad Hafeez, who is currently not allowed to bowl in international cricket as his action has been challenged twice by the ICC, is going to appear in another biomechanics test on June 8. And this lab will help him rectify his action before appearing in the ICC test.
“Soon as many as 27 other bowlers, whose actions have been declared illegal on the domestic circuit, will also appear in this lab to try to rectify their action,” added the PCB chief.
Shaharyar said though LUMS would shift the lab from the current location to some better place in future, even at the current place the lab could meet all the standards set by the ICC.
To a query, he said when the lab equipment was checked two cameras were found defective, which had been replaced.
Declaring that PCB’s next target was to get ICC accreditation for the biomechanics lab, for which experts from the world governing body would soon visit Pakistan, Shaharyar said the players of other sports including football and hockey could also benefit from the PCB lab.
The lab along with its related gear was imported backin 2008 during Dr Nasim Ashraf’s tenure, albeit any proper planning for making it functional. At that time, Mudassar Nazar was working as NCA director.
It is an established practice worldwide that biomechanics labs function in collaboration with a university, as operationalising and functioning of these labs require experts from varied fields.
Though Australian biomechanics expert Daryl Foster, during his 2007 visit to Pakistan had also advised the PCB to install the lab at a university and the University of Punjab was also ready for it, PCB’s priority was to set up the lab at the NCA, which didn’t materialise.
Later, Dr Nasim tendered his resignation and during the tenures of next two PCB chairmen — Ijaz Butt and Zaka Ashraf — the project was overlooked. And Najam Sethi during his one-year tenure as PCB chairman also ignored the matter.
But when the ICC banned two frontline Pakistani bowlers — first ace off-spinner Saeed Ajmal and then seasoned all-rounder Hafeez — for having illegal bowling action, importance of the lab was somehow realised by the national cricket authorities. Shaharyar then took personal interest to start the lab with the assistance of a private university, ignoring all government varsities.
Meanwhile responding to a question, the chairman failed to give an exact date of head coach Mickey Arthur’s arrival in Pakistan to start his assignment with the national team.
“Currently, Arthur is in Australia, seeking its nationality. In my conversation with him today [Monday], he said that by coming Thursday he would get Australian nationality and then after a couple of days he would also receive Australian passport after which he would apply for Pakistani visa,” detailed Shaharyar.
“I hope Arthur will get Pakistani visa without any hurdle and most probably he will be here in the first week of June.”
He said after Arthur’s arrival the PCB would consult him for appointing different coaches to work with him.
Personally however, the chairman said, he did not believe in the idea of appointing a good number of coaches with national team, saying, “When we have a fine coach in Arthur, let him decide to work according to his [own] plans.”
It may be mentioned here that Arthur has already sought Mohammad Akram to work with him as bowling coach, but the PCB has not yet given green signal on it.
Commenting on Balochistan cricket, the PCB chief said during his recent visit to the province he conveyed it to the chief minister that 19 districts of the province had no cricket grounds, which was the main hurdle for the PCB in awarding affiliation to these districts.
“The chief minister has promised a cricket ground will be made available in each district, including Gwadar,” Shaharyar said. “A new academy in Quetta will also be set up.”
Meanwhile, when reminded that the PCB had failed to start its academy in Karachi despite spending millions of rupees on the facility in the metropolis, the chairman disclosed that the academy would be functional in the next couple of weeks.
Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2016