Cricket: Focus on win, Windies told

By David Leggat

Shillingford's suspension disappointing, says Richardson, but team can't dwell on it.

West Indies offspinner Shane Shillingford failed biomechanical tests on the action of his bowling arm. Photo / Getty Images
West Indies offspinner Shane Shillingford failed biomechanical tests on the action of his bowling arm. Photo / Getty Images

The West Indies would be wise to heed the words of their celebrated manager as they try to figure out a way to win a cricket test this week.

Richie Richardson, one of the champion batsmen during the 1980s and 90s when the West Indies bestrode the cricket world, has called on his players to set aside any disappointment at the decision to ban offspinner Shane Shillingford for an illegal action.

"It's a disappointment for us but we realise it's very important for us to focus on the test. We need to win," Richardson said yesterday.

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"Our focus is to win this test, and win it for Shane. It's sad, but you are playing at the highest level so you can't afford to go into a test with this at the back of your mind."

Shillingford has been suspended after failing biomechanical tests in Perth designed to show the bend in his bowling arm was inside the maximum 15 degrees of tolerance.

He was reported by officials during a test in India last month over his doosra delivery - a legspinner with an offspin action.

Allrounder Marlon Samuels was cleared to continue bowling, so long as he doesn't deliver his quicker ball, which had him before the biomechanists as well.

Shillingford will stay until the end of the test before heading home to prove his legitimacy again. This is not the first time the tall Dominican has been in trouble for his action.

"He's a bit dejected but knowing him he knows what he has to do to come back. It's about going home, taking a bit of a break then work on getting back for the West Indies," Richardson said.

The West Indies may feel hard done by. The game is rife with spinners who have, certainly to the naked eye, dodgy actions.

In 2004 the International Cricket Council - faced with Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan and his distinctive action, which showed a 14 degree bend when he bowled his doosra - changed the law to allow 15 degrees of tolerance. That was up from five degrees for spinners and since then all manner of dart throwers have appeared on the world stage. Umpires used to call bowlers they believed had thrown a delivery. Now they report later.

Muralitharan's action was a blight on the game, but ruled legal as he ploughed to a world record 800 wickets at 22 apiece over 133 tests.

Asked if he believed there were several other bowlers around the world with suspect actions, Richardson said: "Well, if that's the view of a lot of people around the world maybe the authorities need to look at that." They should. Other bowlers should be feeling twitchy in the wake of Shillingford's ban.

- NZ Herald

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