LAHORE - All-rounder M Hafeez Monday left for India for the clearance of his bowling action well before the next year's World Cup.

Hafeez’ action was reported as suspect during the first Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi last month and he was subsequently suspended after a bio-mechanical test found it was illegal. Under International Cricket Council (ICC) rules, bowlers are permitted to straighten their bowling arm by up to 15 degrees, which has been established as the point at which any straightening will become visible to the naked eye.

Hafeez's suspension was a second blow for Pakistan after their magical spinner Saeed Ajmal was also sidelined over his illegal action in September. Ajmal last week announced his withdrawal from the World Cup as his remedial work will not be completed before the January 7 deadline to announce a final 15-man squad for the event in Australia and New Zealand, which starts on February 14.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said Hafeez had worked with former spinner Saqlain Mushtaq and spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed. "Hafeez' action should be tested in an ICC accredited lab after his remedial work with coaches here in the city. Therefore, Hafeez is being sent to Chennai for an unofficial testing of his bowling action," the PCB said.

If the unofficial test clears Hafeez then the PCB will apply for an official reassessment with the ICC, possibly by January 3. Hafeez has 122 wickets in 153 one-days, as well as 4,456 runs and his dual role is important to the balance of Pakistan's side in one-day internationals.

“As far as Hafeez is concerned, we’re hopeful that he would be able to clear this informal test,” a member of the bowling action committee said. “He is confident about his clearance.”

The all-rounder has been a key member of Pakistan’s one-day side for the last two years, contributing with both bat and ball. His suspension has weakened the balance of an inconsistent Pakistan side and Haris Sohail has had to take up the role of the fifth bowler with his part time left-arm spin. But even as a batsman, Hafeez remains an integral part of the selectors’ plans, who want to include him as a specialist batsman.

“Hafeez will be included as a specialist batsman in the final 15-man squad for the World Cup and if he gets cleared, then he will bowl as well,” said a senior PCB official. “If the matter drags along a bit more and we’re close to the World Cup, then the PCB can ask the ICC to take his official test in Brisbane.”

Captain Misbahul Haq has said Hafeez' absence hurt the team and led to Pakistan's 3-2 Test defeat against New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) earlier this month.