Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have asked former spinner Saqlain Mushtaq to help Saeed Ajmal rectify his bowling action after it was found to be illegal.
According to the International Cricket Council (ICC), all of Ajmal’s deliveries, including his renowned doosra, were over the 15-degree limit.
However, Mushtaq, who was one of the pioneers of the delivery, stated that it is possible to bowl it with a legitimate action .
“It is a matter of concern,” Mushtaq told ESPNcricinfo. “I got a call from the PCB on Tuesday. We are talking but I haven’t yet committed. They have given me short notice. They asked me if I would help Ajmal. I would love to. I said definitely, but we are trying to see if the dates can be worked out. I am hopeful.”
Mushtaq also admitted that he hasn’t watched Ajmal bowl as of late. In fact, the last time he did see Ajmal in action was when the MCC played the Rest of the World at Lord’s in July.
“I thought he must be bowling legal deliveries so I was focusing on his tactical aspects: how he is setting his field, which ball he would deliver next, how he would trap the batsman,” Mushtaq said. “In that match I was speaking on those lines.”
Mushtaq also revealed that he has never worked with Ajmal before, but did have an informal chat with him during Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010.
The 37-year-old also pointed out that a spinner’s action starts to become suspicious if his muscles have not developed properly.
“You have to work on four important things: endurance, strength and power, flexibility, and finally quickness or speed,” he said. “These are the things to be sorted out first, even before we arrive at the bowler’s action, run-up, loading and follow-through.”
When asked if a hefty workload is the reason behind Ajmal’s bowling action deteriorating, Mushtaq said: “If you tire yourself too much, it might affect your strength and power, it might affect your flexibility, it could reduce your bowling speed. So over-working or bowling wrong, or not working at all, depends on the four aspects I mentioned above.”
Mushtaq is confident that Ajmal can bounce back from this setback, but it all depends on how much effort he is willing to put in.
“It depends on the individual,” he said. “It depends on how much effort he puts in, how early his muscles respond to his routines and how he adjusts to the remodeled action.”
The PCB themselves are hoping and praying that Ajmal will be back in action as soon as possible since he is one of the core members of the the national team’s bowling attack.
“We can’t just fight with the scientific evidence,” a PCB official told ESPNcricinfo. “He is on the wrong side of 30 but he has done enough in terms of rehabilitating Pakistan’s image in last four years. His services are significant so we are putting every effort to help him out. At the moment we have called Saqlain and are working out an arrangement to get him here as soon as possible.”