Saeed Ajmal is once again in the spotlight for his bowling action, with senior Indian cricketers being the latest to accuse him of chucking.
The players, raised questions about his actions during Pakistan’s defeat to India in the Asia Cup, by six wickets at Dhaka.
However, International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat, states that there is nothing wrong with the way Ajmal bowls. “We need to be careful about what the eye sees and what the reality is. You are allowed to bowl with an arm that you don’t straighten in the course of action and he is well within the degrees of tolerance” he said.
According to ICC rules, a bowler can straighten his arm up to 15 degrees. Anything beyond this mark, will be deemed as illegal.
“We do whatever protocol allows us to do and let us not forget that the match officials, the umpires are entitled to call any bowler, who has got a suspect action” Lorgat also said.
However, the Indian senior players, are not the first people to question Ajmal over his action. The first time Ajmal was suspected of chucking, was against Australia in 2009, but after extensive medical work by experts, he was cleared of any wrongdoing.
To add more confusion, Ajmal, was given a special dispensation by the ICC, which stated that he was allowed to straighten his arm past the 15 degree mark, due to an accident he sustained.
Amongst the fresh accusations, Ajmal, speaking exclusively to the BBC, after Pakistan’s test series against England, said: “I don’t know about my bowling action, but somebody was telling me your action is bad. ICC has allowed me 23.5 because my arm is not good because of an accident, that is why a problem. Otherwise no problem, straightaway cleared by ICC.”
Former England pace bowler, Bob Willis, is another cricketer, who became suspicious of Ajmal’s bowling, especially in his ‘doosra’ deliveries, where the ball turns in the opposite direction than a normal off-break.
England coach, Andy Flower, also said that he had his own opinion about it, but refused to say anymore, other than it would be best if the ICC took care of the matter in a way that they deemed appropriate.
However, after these accusations, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and ICC, cleared Ajmal’s name once again, stating that he had been cleared within the specified limits.
According to the PCB, Ajmal had been referring to his elbow extension and not his arm, upon which ICC general manager, David Richardson, said: “There is a big difference between the elbow carry angle (elbow abduction) and the degree of elbow extension. There is nothing preventing a bowler bowling with a bent arm, provided he does not straighten it beyond the permitted degrees of tolerance.”
Ajmal, who has proven to be a highly effective bowler for Pakistan, has a lot of different types of deliveries in his bowling arsenal, including the famed ‘teesra’, which is similar to ‘sliders’ bowled by leg spinners, where the ball keeps in a straight line, fooling the batsmen, who tries to play the delivery as if it will turn.
Even though, many people have criticised Ajmal over his bowling action, the ICC have noted that there is nothing wrong with it, and have given Ajmal their full consent in continuing to bowl the way he normally does.