x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Delay in visa issue frustrating for UAE cricketer Aziz

Off-spinner has to visit Australia for analysis on his bowling action before he can join his team for the World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand, reports Amith Passela.

Nasir Aziz, in recent action, is unable to understand what it is about his action that the ICC is unhappy with. Jeff Topping for The National
Nasir Aziz, in recent action, is unable to understand what it is about his action that the ICC is unhappy with. Jeff Topping for The National

DUBAI // Time is running out for Nasir Aziz, the UAE off-spinner who has to travel to Australia for a biomechanics test to analyse a suspected illegal bowling action.

He has been included in the 15-man UAE squad for the ICC World Cup Qualifier from January 13 to February 1 in New Zealand but will have to travel to Australia first for his test before joining the team.

“It has been very frustrating for me,” the Pakistan-born cricketer said. “I wake up every morning expecting a call from the Australian embassy since I applied for my visa on December 10. Now the team is leaving without me.

“Only once I receive the visa will the ICC schedule a date for the test. I am still hopeful that I can make it to the qualifiers. But the wait for the visa is killing me.”

Aaqib Javed, the UAE coach, said he expected his leading wicket-taker in recent competitions to join him at least when they reach the six-team qualifier stage.

“We certainly are going to miss his services,” Javed said. “If he receives the visa in the next couple of days, as I have been made to understand, he has a chance of playing in the six-team stage.”

Aziz took 13 wickets against Canada in the ICC Intercontinental Cup and the ICC World Cricket League Championship in July-August, and 17 in the Asian Cricket Council Emerging Teams tournament, including five each against the Under 23 teams of India and Bangladesh in Singapore.

He topped the charts for the UAE again in the World Twenty20 Qualifier with 15 wickets.

Aziz, 27, was twice reported for his action in this competition: in the first game against Uganda and in the semi-finals against Ireland.

It is the third time he has been reported for an illegal bowling action.

The first time he was called for a suspect action was in 2011 in a World Cricket League game against Namibia in Dubai, but he was cleared the following month.

“It puzzles me,” Aziz said. “I have been playing for the UAE for the last four years and played in several ICC conducted competitions. They haven’t specified any specific delivery, like the doosra, but have reported that I have an illegal bowling action.

“I want to get this cleared as quickly as possible so I can continue my cricket. I can only wait with hope at the moment.”

Yesterday, the ICC announced an analysis had found the bowling action of Hong Kong’s Moner Ahmed to be illegal and, as such, the player would be suspended from bowling in international cricket for a period of 12 months.

Moner was reported twice during the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in the UAE last year. The first report was on November 15 after a group match against Italy, followed by a second report on November 28 after a play-off match against Papua New Guinea.

apassela@thenational.ae