Warwickshire off-spinner Maurice Holmes faces an uncertain future in county cricket after being banned from bowling by the England and Wales Cricket Board for having an illegal bowling action.
Holmes, 21, was twice reported by umpires for having a suspect bowling action during the first half of the season and was sent for independent analysis by the ECB.
The Loughborough University student was tested last week but his action failed to pass muster with the independent analysis carried out.
“The report identified that the bowling action of Holmes during the independent analysis was materially different to his action during the match in which he was reported on May 1 2011 (Warwickshire v Leicestershire CB40) and that the deliveries bowled during the independent analysis were not at a suitable pace,” the ECB said in a statement.
Holmes played in Warwickshire’s drawn Second XI friendly against Middlesex at Kenilworth Wardens in which he went wicketless. The news of his suspension from bowling was broken to him at the end of the match. Holmes was signed by Warwickshire on a one-year summer contract which expires in September.
He will now be suspended from all competitive county cricket and will not be allowed to bowl in a match situation until he has remodelled his action and it has been cleared by the ECB. That process is likely to take several months rather than several weeks.
It will be the second time that Holmes has had to remodel his action after it failed to pass muster with the ECB when Warwickshire first considered signing him two years ago.
Holmes was dubbed the ‘English Murali’ when he was hired by New Zealand to bowl at their batsmen in the nets to prepare them for facing Sri Lanka spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan.
Like Murali, Holmes can bowl the ‘doosra’ and his action is highly unusual. But, unlike Murali, he has been unable to convince the experts that his action is legal.
Holmes’s ban from bowling is understood to have been extended by the ECB to include the Birmingham & District Premier League where he plays alongside Warwickshire’s Second XI coach Dougie Brown for leaders Barnt Green.