West Indies in spin over Shane Shillingford ban

MARK GEENTY IN HAMILTON
Last updated 05:00 19/12/2013
Shane Shillingford
Photosport
UNDER A CLOUD: Shane Shillingford in action for the West Indies against New Zealand.

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If this was Darren Sammy's best "no comment", then here's hoping he really marks out his run at some stage this tour.

A hurt and bemused West Indies side turned up at Seddon Park yesterday, still trying to digest the suspension of their best bowler, Shane Shillingford. The spinner failed to convince an independent panel in Perth that his bowling arm was within the permitted 15 degrees (from the point the arm raises above the shoulder to the point of delivery), and is banned until he can do so.

West Indies coach Ottis Gibson offered the most telling line on the topic, two days before Shillingford's ban was confirmed by the International Cricket Council. "There are a few people around the world bowling with similar, if not worse actions, so I expect him to be cleared."

Sammy is an impressive captain who gives respectful, considered answers with a dose of good humour. But this time it was all he could do to remain silent when asked if he agreed with Gibson.

"I guess the coach has his opinions. I'd love to spill my guts out and say what I have to say. Wouldn't you love that?"

Instead, Sammy said he would stick by the rules for fear of finding himself in a "compromising situation".

He felt for his close friend Shillingford, who needed to be home with close family and would be on a plane to Dominica in the next few days.

The tourists are right to feel hard done by. Chucking is one of the worst labels a bowler can be tarred with, and 30-year-old Shillingford's career is now under a cloud after being banned for a second time. The on-field umpires reported his action as suspect during the tests in India last month.

Meanwhile, as Gibson noted, others around the world continue on. Most countries have bowlers whose actions raise eyebrows, and even New Zealand's part-time offie, Kane Williamson, bowls in long sleeves with a jerky delivery but has never had official concerns raised in his career.

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum had sympathy for Shillingford but wouldn't say whether he believed he was hard done by.

"I guess you always feel sorry for someone if they get rubbed out of a game regardless of the situation so I feel for him. But it's the nature of the game and it's not really for us to comment on."

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