ACTION DEEMED ILLEGAL: West Indies off-spinner Shane Shillingford. –Photo courtesy BCCI/WICB media



Tough for suspended spinner to come back, say experts

By Roger Seepersad

Shane Shillingford’s second ICC bowling suspension could mean an early end to a promising Test career for the Dominican off-spinner.

An ICC media release yesterday announced that an independent biomechanical analysis found Shillingford’s bowling action to be illegal and that the player has been suspended from bowling in international cricket.

Former West Indies batsman Bryan Davis and former regional fast-bowler Tony Gray believes it will be very difficult for the 30-year-old Shillingford to bounce back a second time.

Shillingford’s action was also scrutinised in November 2010, but after doing remedial work, the Dominican resumed bowling in June the following year.

“I think it will be a severe test of character for him to be under the microscope and to try and come back again,” Davis told the Express yesterday.

Davis also believes that the question mark over Shillingford’s action contributed to the spinner’s struggles in the ongoing Test series against New Zealand.

 “I think he is struggling because of that as well, not only because of the wickets. He was trying too hard not to give the umpires in New Zealand any suspicion about his action.

“I think it is a sad situation and it will be very difficult for him to come back. It will be a severe test and I really think it will be hard for him to concentrate and I can’t see him coming back from this one. Having been accustomed to a bowling action and having to try to will be very hard,” Davis                                added.

Gray also sees it as an uphill task for the spinner given his age and the period of time it will take for him to do the necessary remedial work and get back into the right frame of mind.

“He has been bowling like that since youth cricket. There were always question marks and it is sad because this is someone who has generally done well but deemed to be illegal where his action is concerned,” Gray explained.

He added: “The sad thing is that it is a reflection of West Indies cricket. At the early stages of these guys’ careers, we need to have the right coaches who will ensure these guys are not illegal. 

“We had a situation before with (Jermaine) Lawson and now with Shillingford and it is really adding to the destruction of West Indies cricket when you have talented cricketers who are deemed illegal and who are not corrected in the early part of their careers.

“The psychological pressure will be on him. He knows people are going to be scrutinising him. The world cricketing public will be looking at his action when he comes back and he will have to go through a period of remedial work.

“People can come back but it will be highly difficult for him and it will not take two months or three will                                                                               probably take a year,” Gray added.

“The sad truth is that when we have problematic actions like Lawson and Shillingford, we don’t have a specific programme to help them to rectify the problem. 

“This guy (Shillingford) is 30 years old and these habits he has been developing since perhaps he was 16 years old, so it will be very difficult for him to rectify his action and if he does, he might not be as effective,” Gray concluded.

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