The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has put faith in the International Cricket Council (ICC) to decide ace off-spinner Saeed Ajmal’s fate after he was reported for a suspect bowling action following the conclusion of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.
This is the second time Ajmal has been reported for an illegal action – previously cleared in 2009 by the University of Western Australia after undergoing testing procedures.
According to the International Cricket Council (ICC), the match officials’ report, which was handed over to Pakistan team manager Moin Khan on Sunday, a number of deliveries by Ajmal that were considered to be suspect and hence needed testing.
“Ajmal’s bowling action will now be scrutinised further under the ICC process relating to suspected illegal bowling actions reported in Tests, ODIs and T20Is,” read the ICC press release.
“He is required to undergo testing within 21 days, and, during this period, Ajmal is permitted to continue bowling in international cricket until the results of the testing are known.”
The ICC process commenced after match officials Bruce Oxenford and Ian Gould (on-field umpires), Richard Illingworth (3rd umpire) and match referee Andy Pycroft, reported their doubts about the legality of Ajmal’s bowling in Galle.
PCB, Moin to adopt wait-and-see policy
According to ESPNcricinfo, Moin expressed his surprise at the call made by the match officials.
“We were informed by the ICC and it came up as a surprise,” said Moin, while confirming that Ajmal is set to play in Colombo.
Meanwhile, the PCB has stated that once such a report has been made, the ICC rules take over and the entire process is controlled and regulated by the governing body.
“The PCB has no choice but to wait for the outcome of the process before proceeding further in the matter,” said the PCB statement.
Recently, Ajmal was involved in a controversy during his stint playing county cricket in the UK, with England fast-bowler Stuart Broad questioning the legality of his actions on social media. Ajmal and the PCB subsequently asked for an explanation regarding comments from both the player and the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
It should be mentioned here that before the accusation on Ajmal, Sri Lankan off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson have been reported and banned from bowling due to similar reasons.
Ajmal had to bowl long spells in the first innings of the Galle Test, which Pakistan lost by seven wickets; the off-spinner delivered 59.1 overs and captured five wickets in the process.
Saqlain hopes for clearance
Former off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq thinks that the legality of a bowling action is a technical matter which must be gauged through correct procedures.
“I didn’t watch the match so I’m not in any position to explain what happened clearly,” Saqlain told The Express Tribune.
“But there are different circumstances that come to the fore when these things come up. Sometimes if a bowler is getting tired by bowling too much, they often try to compensate by using other muscles which results in throwing.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2014.