Ajmal looking to represent Pakistan in World Cup

"I'm hopeful and confident that my bowling action will be cleared ahead of this showpiece event"

“I’m hopeful and confident that my bowling action will be cleared ahead of this showpiece event”

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

After having made significant progress on his illegal bowling action, Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal has announced that he is eager to represent his country in the 2015 World Cup.

Ajmal recently had his action unofficially tested at Loughborough University and, even though his elbow flex still exceeded the 15-degree limit, biomechanist Dr Mark King stated that he noticed “substantial improvement” in Ajmal’s action.

“I’m very pleased with the assessment of Dr. King,” Ajmal told Pakpassion.net. “It was very heartening to hear what he had to say. I was expecting a reduction to about 30 degrees but to see that some deliveries are down to 20 degrees is fantastic and positive news for me.

“Also, what is really encouraging is that most of my deliveries are now within the 15 degree limit. The ICC’s rules of course stipulate that all deliveries have to be under 15 degrees and I’m very confident that I will achieve that target with the help of [former Pakistan offspinner] Saqlain Mushtaq and all the other individuals who are helping me and guiding me.”

Ajmal also revealed that his elbow flex only exceeded the limit when bowling the doosra.

“I’m working hard on adjusting the doosra to ensure that it is also under 15 degrees and I’m confident that I will manage to do that,” he said.

However, Ajmal did question the consistency of the biomechanical tests since he was reported for a suspect action in 2009 and was subsequently cleared.

“The frustrating thing is that I was tested in 2009, tested again earlier this year and have had private tests on my bowling action recently. Every single one of those tests has produced different results,” he said. “There is just no consistency at all in these tests and the subsequent reports. If there was consistency then I would know where I stand. I work on rectifying one issue and then in the next report something different is pointed out to me.”

Ajmal also pointed out that the elbow flex limit is “too strict” and should be increased.

“I think 99% of bowlers these days would fail the 15 degree test for at least one or more of their deliveries,” he said. “I also think that the technology being used in match situations to assess bowling actions is too strict. I think they should use the normal television cameras to assess our bowling actions, but instead what is being used are cameras that can virtually see the blood running though our bodies.”

When asked if the doosra will become a thing of the past, Ajmal said: “No I don’t believe that will be the case. The doosra is an art and a weapon to use against batsmen. God willing when I am back playing international cricket, I will bowl the doosra with the same venom that I always have done. The doosra is part of my repertoire and a delivery that I intend to continue bowling in future.”

Ajmal is also keen on making his international return when the World Cup begins in February.

“All this effort with Saqlain Mushtaq and the work at Lahore and Loughborough is with the World Cup in mind and I’m hopeful and confident that my bowling action will be cleared ahead of this showpiece event,” he said. “However, if I don’t make the World Cup then my prayers and well-wishes will be with my Pakistani team mates. If I’m not there in Australia and New Zealand my support will be with the Pakistan team and I’ll be cheering them on loudly.”

The 37-year-old added that he could not believe how well Pakistan have been doing since he was banned from bowling.

Pakistan recently whitewashed Australia 2-0 in the United Arab Emirates and currently hold a 1-0 lead over New Zealand heading into the third Test in Sharjah.

“It’s not easy to have to watch the matches on television and not to be out there with my team mates,” Ajmal said. “Having said that, I am absolutely delighted seeing Pakistan play so well. It’s been brilliant to watch Yasir Shah and Zulfiqar Babar come into the Pakistan team as my replacements and perform so well. I’m so happy for both of them and I hope they have long and successful careers for Pakistan.”

Ajmal also thanked the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for extending his stay in England and allowing him to continue working with former spinner Saqlain Mushtaq at his academy in Leicestershire.

“I feel that with the implementation of these additional technical modifications all of my deliveries will be under the 15 degrees limit,” Ajmal said. “Next week, we intend to have another private test on my bowling action to ensure that all of my deliveries are below the 15 degrees limit. Following on from the private tests and most probably next month we’ll go for tests with the ICC and hopefully be cleared for a return to cricket.”

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