KARACHI: Suspended off-spinner Saeed Ajmal’s fate may be hanging in the balance as Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar Khan said the bowler needed to decide for himself whether he can pass the official International Cricket Council (ICC) test or not. With his career on the line, the wrong decision could be the final nail in the coffin.
The 37-year-old has undergone informal testing in the UK, but the results showed that Ajmal was still over the allowed limit of a 15 degree flexion.
He continued working on his remodelled action at the Loughborough University with Saqlain Mushtaq and biomechanists, but was called back to Pakistan.
The board asked him to appear in Pakistan A’s last two matches against Kenya so that his action could be judged in an actual match environment and unfortunately, Ajmal looked like a shadow of himself as he struggled to bowl properly.
For a man who has remained at the top of the world and ranking charts during his career, Ajmal appeared as if he was trying to come to terms with competitive cricket, struggling with both his line and length.
“Ajmal should decide whether he wants a reassessment on his action or not,” said Shaharyar while speaking to reporters at the National Stadium yesterday.
“What if we send him for the test and he fails it? It will be damaging for both the PCB and Ajmal as failure would result in a two-year ban, thus ending his career.”
It should be recalled that Ajmal’s previous official test revealed that his overall bowling action was illegal and his flexion was over 40 degrees, nearly triple the allowed limit.
The PCB is now planning to send both Ajmal and Muhammad Hafeez – also suspended for his illegal bowling action – to Chennai for informal testing to get a clear picture before applying for a formal assessment.
“We’re sending Ajmal and Hafeez to Chennai so that we can know where they stand. Ajmal is working really hard with Saqlain, but there isn’t any surety whether his action has come under 15 degrees or not,” added the PCB chief.
Ajmal has represented Pakistan in 35 Tests, 111 ODIs and 63 T20Is, claiming 178, 183 and 85 wickets respectively.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2014.
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