Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former Pakistan spinner Saqlain Mushtaq has announced that Saeed Ajmal’s rehabilitation is on track and going extremely well.
Mushtaq was hired by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for one month to help Ajmal rectify his bowling action after it was found to be illegal by the the International Cricket Council (ICC).
However, even though Mushtaq’s contract will expire on October 24, he is confident that Ajmal will be back bowling in no time at all.
“There is a realistic chance Ajmal can return with a legitimate action and once I finish I am sure he will be in good shape,” Mushtaq told ESPNcricinfo. “He will be ready in the next two weeks to undergo an unofficial assessment in a biomechanical laboratory. I am hopeful and more importantly he [Ajmal] himself is very optimistic and has done everything that is required.”
Mushtaq also called on the ICC to take note of the fact that Ajmal damaged his wrist, shoulder, hand and elbow after a traffic accident in 2004.
“If you look at Ajmal’s history with injuries, he might have recovered but there are certain things he might not able to achieve,” Mushtaq said. “He is working so hard to get it fixed and bring it within the 15-degree limit. And I can see with my naked eye that he has done a lot work to reduce his flex so far and this is the important part.
“With fresh medial reports we can put our heads together to look at what we can do further. I think ICC should also consider his medical history since no one wants to break the law intentionally. Even Ajmal, when he saw his videos, admitted his action was not fair. So he understands exactly what he needs to do. He is a quick learner and a fighter and is working so hard to achieve his targets.”
Mushtaq also revealed that he has been helping Ajmal rectify his action only for off-breaks thus far. The next step in their rehabilitation programme will be to work on Ajmal’s action when he bowls the doosra.
“We just want to ensure that everything should be perfect before we apply for an official assessment,” he said. “We took a month to work on various elements. So I am satisfied with the improvement in the last two weeks. But undergoing an assessment through a proper biomechanics system can further iron out the kinks. In case there is some problem we can sort it out instantly and the idea is to go into the ICC testing without any flaw.
“We have done most of the work so far on conventional offspin, but we are now focusing on his strength as well. So we are working on the overall package, including his doosra.”
Mushtaq also believes that there is no reason why any spinner cannot bowl the doosra with a legitimate action.
“I have always believed you can definitely bowl it with a legitimate action, working on various aspects of your body,” he said. “You can bowl the doosra with your fingers, wrist, elbow, shoulder and you can even get it right with your foot positioning. Every individual has his own physique. If you don’t have strong shoulders you can execute it through you wrist and fingers and use elbow to bowl a faster one. In either case you have to have strong control over your wrist and ensure it doesn’t collapse. And without the kink you can safely bowl a doosra within the permitted flex.”
When asked whether new types of deliveries can still be invented, Mushtaq said: “Why not? A person is made of this earth, which has not been discovered completely yet. So when you start thinking and start experiencing deeply, then you start experimenting. And then what you produce, that is a real invention.”