Lee, Akhtar quality pacemen but with suspect action: Roberts
by AFP

Player:Shoaib Akhtar, B Lee, AME Roberts

DateLine: 1st June 2006


Former West Indies fast bowling great Andy Roberts on Thursday reopened the chucking debate saying Australian paceman Brett Lee and Pakistani counterpart Shoaib Akhtar had "suspect actions".


"They don't have many good quality fast bowlers right now. The only two that I can see and talk of, one is Lee and the other is Shoaib, and both in my mind are suspect," Roberts told The Indian Express.


"I am not the only one, most of the world thinks so. I have watched them. I think Lee is one of the best athletes in the Australian team, but one or two of his deliveries are suspect."


Lee and Akhtar both had come under International Cricket Council (ICC) scanner before being cleared, but Roberts was not convinced.


"You look at Shoaib from side-on, you look at him from the back, I wonder if hyperextension can be that and all that they say it is," said Roberts, a key figure of Clive Lloyd's fearsome pace quartet of the 1970s and early '80s.


Roberts, who retired in 1983 with 202 wickets in 47 Tests, lashed out at the ICC for "encouraging chucking" by allowing a bowler to bend his arm to 15 degrees.


"To be honest, I would say that the ICC is encouraging chucking in cricket," he said.


"By raising the limit to 15 degrees, you are encouraging people to bend their arms. That's all I have to say. It should remain what it is and umpires should be allowed to be free to do their work as they see it."


Roberts, 55, also blamed coaches for the decline of fast bowling, saying pacemen are born, not made.


"They are born to bowl fast. It's not that everybody can pick up a ball and run in and bowl fast. There has to be something there," he said.


"But if you look at the coaching methods of today, we want everybody to do the same thing. We want everybody to bowl line and length. And that's taking away from the pace of the ball.


"If I had to work with anyone, I'd say, 'Bowl fast, practice to bowl fast, practice to control'. You have to do everything together."


Roberts said Brian Lara's West Indians had made an encouraging start by beating fancied India 4-1 in a recent home one-day series, but should be more dominant in their victories.


"That is just a beginning. You have to show me that you can do it over a period of time. It's encouraging to win but I would like to see us being a little more dominant when we win," he said.


India, seeking their first Test series victory in the Caribbean since 1971, will play four Tests against the hosts. The first match begins on Friday in Antigua.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)