Pakistan v England, 2011-12 February 8, 2012

Unravelling the mystery of Ajmal

The ICC have explained the science behind the offspinner's action after a TV interview caused confusion
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A combination of language difficulties and scientific misunderstanding created the confusion over the legitimacy of Saaed Ajmal's bowling action.

Ajmal, man of the series as Pakistan inflicted a 3-0 whitewash upon England in the Test series in the UAE, sparked confusion in the aftermath of the third Test by appearing to suggest that the ICC had given him special dispensation to straighten his arm beyond the 15-degree tolerance currently permitted.

Speaking to the BBC, Ajmal appeared to volunteer the fact that the ICC had allowed him 23.5 degrees to compensate for an accident in which he injured his arm. Ajmal said: "Someone is telling me my action is bad because the ICC allowed me as a bowler 23.5 degrees, because my arm is not good. A few years ago I had an accident. Otherwise, no problem, the action was cleared by ICC."

The ICC soon denied that was the case and issued a partial explanation but a separate statement from the PCB seemed only to further muddy the waters due to an understandable, though unfortunate, error.

ESPNcricinfo has visited the ICC's headquarters in Dubai, spoken to Dave Richardson, the ICC's general manager of cricket and seen the report compiled by the ICC's Panel of Human Movement at the University of Western Australia in 2009, and can now clarify the misunderstanding.

The bottom line is this: Saeed Ajmal's action is well within the ICC range of tolerance. It is legal. While he does bowl with a bend in his arm, it does not straighten more, on average, than about eight degrees.

Now for the science bit: as Ajmal begins to bring his arm over to bowl, there is, on average, a 23.5 degree bend in his elbow (elbow flexion) - the angle to which Ajmal referred in his BBC interview. As he delivers the ball, his arm straightens (elbow extension) by, on average, eight degrees - well within the 15-degree range of tolerance for international cricket set by the ICC.

This means that his arm is flexed by around 15.5 degrees at the moment of delivery - but it is vital to remember that it is quite legal to bowl with a bent arm: it is the degree that it straightens from the bend that is monitored.

The situation with Ajmal is complicated further by the fact that his elbow also abducts - or rotates sideways - by around 15 degrees in delivery. This is not something that is limited by the rules on the bowling action but helps to create the illusion that his arm has straightened more than it has in reality.

Many well known international bowlers - including bowlers from England - have demonstrated similar amounts of flexion and straightening but, due to the way Ajmal's elbow abducts, the straightening in his action can appear magnified.

While this has led to some apparently incriminating photographs, in this instance the camera can certainly mislead, if not lie.

Furthermore, contrary to widespread conjecture, Ajmal's off-break and quicker ball actually cause his arm to straighten more - though only a fraction more - than his doosra. The 2009 tests also obliged Ajmal to demonstrate his quicker ball - a delivery that approaches 100kph - and found that, in terms of flex and abduction, it did not differ from his stock delivery.

"Ajmal's action has led to some apparently incriminating photographs but in this instance the camera can mislead if not lie"

Any umpire with any concern over Ajmal's action - or that of any other previously tested bowler - has the facility to freeze-frame any delivery from any international match and compare it to images taken during the test procedure at the University of Western Australia. It is understood that there has been no significant change in Ajmal's action since the tests in 2009.

Ajmal, in conducting an interview in a foreign language and attempting to explain a complex bio-mechanical process, inadvertently awakened a controversy that should have been resolved in 2009.

Ajmal tormented the England batsmen in all three Tests, claiming 24 wickets in the series at an average of just 14.7. Their inability to distinguish between his off-break and doosra caused particular confusion and vastly reduced the effectiveness of England's much-vaunted middle order. Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan and Kevin Pietersen all failed to average more than 13.

Richardson confirmed on Tuesday that Ajmal's action does not fall outside the 15-degree tolerance limit. "There is nothing preventing a bowler bowling with a bent arm, provided he does not straighten it beyond the permitted degrees of tolerance," he said.

The PCB also issued a statement attempting to clarify the situation although their claim that Ajmal's elbow has a natural angle of 23 degrees didn't match Richardson's explanation that it was 15 degrees, which also happens to be the ICC's tolerance limit for the degree of elbow extension (elbow straightening). It appears, in retrospect that the PCB confused flexion - which is the amount the elbow bends - with abduction - which is the sideways movement of the elbow.

The accident to which Ajmal referred took place on a bus while he was on Pakistan duty. The ICC suspect, however, that the unusually high elbow abduction - the angle at which the forearm leads from the elbow - has been with him from birth.

Differing opinions are, generally, to be welcomed and respected. On this subject, however, there can be no room for further speculation or doubt. Ajmal's action is fine. That is a scientific fact.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • AsadCricFan on February 12, 2012, 14:27 GMT

    To be fair, it's not the English team or Ajmal that should be blamed for this fiasco. Just the newspaper columnists and journos that need a story that would create some drama. Good on you Dobell for clearing it up.

  • on February 11, 2012, 8:35 GMT

    Ajmal is a good bowler no doubt.... and he should not be criticized whatsoever....

  • Biso on February 9, 2012, 16:10 GMT

    @beastbuddy . You have hit the nail on the head. That 15 degree rule was brought about when the so called pundits in ICC realised that the Australian fast bowlers were all worse than the much maligned Murali. That had no choice but to find a way out of the mess.LOL. But, the point is every bowler flexes, more or less. Hence the degree rule. You can debate about how much should a legitimate delivery be. But, without flexure it is impossible to bowl.

  • Biso on February 9, 2012, 16:00 GMT

    It is impossible to bowl any delivery in cricket without a certain degree of flexure( straightening of the elbow). Impossible. Ask the doctors who are specialists in human motion or for that matter orthopedics. The point is- what is the extent that is permissible? The faster one bowls the greater the straightening. It may or may not be apparent to the naked eye. But it is certainly there. On this account the naked eye can be misleading. It was found during extensive studies of bowlers that some one like Mc Grath had a higher degree of flexure while bowling his cutters than Murali. And we all know that Murali received a raw deal from a few umpires and media. Ajmal's case is similar. The English media sat in judgment for obvious reasons. BTW Ajmal will be playing county cricket.

  • bobmartin on February 9, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    @reality_check.... Thank you.. you've written exactly what I would have replied to FF768. The simple fact is that there are many bowlers whose actions contravene the Law as it is currently written. If the ICC considers them to be legal, then they should be asking the MCC to change the Law to reflect this. What we now have is the Law saying one thing and the ICC saying something else.

  • reality_check on February 9, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    @FF786 regarding @bobmartin: I don't think bobmartin is questioning Ajmal's action as far as I can read his comment. He is merely pointing out facts from MCC rule book which in this case slightly differs from ICC and he simply wants MCC to include the ICC extended rule in this regards. I agree that both MCC and ICC should be on the same page to avoid any future confusions.

  • on February 9, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    Why Why Why.. when ever a sub-continent bowler takes too many wickets, the Englishmen, Australians and the like.. they start making loud noises.. how unsporting! shame.

  • FF786 on February 9, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    @ bobMartin so do you think Ajaml is a relative of Haroon Lorgart or David Richardson, or do you have more knowledge than Cheif Executive & General Manager of ICC. ICC is flexible but not flexible enough to allow a bowler to bowl a single illegal delivery. Saeed Ajmal played the ODI world cup as well as couple of T20 world cups, and u noticed his action at this time during PAK-England Series. So i can say that u must have some tolerance and your team is not good enough, there are so many deficiencies in your England Team.

  • RohanMarkJay on February 9, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    This is typical behaviour from the mentality of players, media and fans of England and Australia. Their arrogant superior mentality towards Subontinental teams like Sri Lanka or Pakistan never ceases to amaze. Ajmal is fine. Personally this will motivate Ajmal to be the greatest since Murali. Questioning Murali action made Murali even a better bowler.

  • satish619chandar on February 9, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    @Nutcutlet : It happens.. As u said, Mr.Geoff Griffin is unlucky to be born on that age.. Any sport evolves with age.. Cricket had moved on to OD and now T20.. There were many rules flexed like bouncers, number of overs, over rate, replays, third umpire, DRS and everything.. It just happens.. Rule cant stay rule as it will pass the sell date.. Very tough to maintain same rule for ages..

  • AsadCricFan on February 12, 2012, 14:27 GMT

    To be fair, it's not the English team or Ajmal that should be blamed for this fiasco. Just the newspaper columnists and journos that need a story that would create some drama. Good on you Dobell for clearing it up.

  • on February 11, 2012, 8:35 GMT

    Ajmal is a good bowler no doubt.... and he should not be criticized whatsoever....

  • Biso on February 9, 2012, 16:10 GMT

    @beastbuddy . You have hit the nail on the head. That 15 degree rule was brought about when the so called pundits in ICC realised that the Australian fast bowlers were all worse than the much maligned Murali. That had no choice but to find a way out of the mess.LOL. But, the point is every bowler flexes, more or less. Hence the degree rule. You can debate about how much should a legitimate delivery be. But, without flexure it is impossible to bowl.

  • Biso on February 9, 2012, 16:00 GMT

    It is impossible to bowl any delivery in cricket without a certain degree of flexure( straightening of the elbow). Impossible. Ask the doctors who are specialists in human motion or for that matter orthopedics. The point is- what is the extent that is permissible? The faster one bowls the greater the straightening. It may or may not be apparent to the naked eye. But it is certainly there. On this account the naked eye can be misleading. It was found during extensive studies of bowlers that some one like Mc Grath had a higher degree of flexure while bowling his cutters than Murali. And we all know that Murali received a raw deal from a few umpires and media. Ajmal's case is similar. The English media sat in judgment for obvious reasons. BTW Ajmal will be playing county cricket.

  • bobmartin on February 9, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    @reality_check.... Thank you.. you've written exactly what I would have replied to FF768. The simple fact is that there are many bowlers whose actions contravene the Law as it is currently written. If the ICC considers them to be legal, then they should be asking the MCC to change the Law to reflect this. What we now have is the Law saying one thing and the ICC saying something else.

  • reality_check on February 9, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    @FF786 regarding @bobmartin: I don't think bobmartin is questioning Ajmal's action as far as I can read his comment. He is merely pointing out facts from MCC rule book which in this case slightly differs from ICC and he simply wants MCC to include the ICC extended rule in this regards. I agree that both MCC and ICC should be on the same page to avoid any future confusions.

  • on February 9, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    Why Why Why.. when ever a sub-continent bowler takes too many wickets, the Englishmen, Australians and the like.. they start making loud noises.. how unsporting! shame.

  • FF786 on February 9, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    @ bobMartin so do you think Ajaml is a relative of Haroon Lorgart or David Richardson, or do you have more knowledge than Cheif Executive & General Manager of ICC. ICC is flexible but not flexible enough to allow a bowler to bowl a single illegal delivery. Saeed Ajmal played the ODI world cup as well as couple of T20 world cups, and u noticed his action at this time during PAK-England Series. So i can say that u must have some tolerance and your team is not good enough, there are so many deficiencies in your England Team.

  • RohanMarkJay on February 9, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    This is typical behaviour from the mentality of players, media and fans of England and Australia. Their arrogant superior mentality towards Subontinental teams like Sri Lanka or Pakistan never ceases to amaze. Ajmal is fine. Personally this will motivate Ajmal to be the greatest since Murali. Questioning Murali action made Murali even a better bowler.

  • satish619chandar on February 9, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    @Nutcutlet : It happens.. As u said, Mr.Geoff Griffin is unlucky to be born on that age.. Any sport evolves with age.. Cricket had moved on to OD and now T20.. There were many rules flexed like bouncers, number of overs, over rate, replays, third umpire, DRS and everything.. It just happens.. Rule cant stay rule as it will pass the sell date.. Very tough to maintain same rule for ages..

  • Cric-enthusiast on February 9, 2012, 12:12 GMT

    Finally, an article that needs to be splashed on the front page of "The Guardian", "The Sun", et al....Thanks Mr. Dobell.

  • bobmartin on February 9, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    From the MCC Web Site: "Although the International Cricket Council is the global Governing Body for cricket, it still relies on MCC to write and interpret the Laws of Cricket." In the Laws published on that web site, under Law 24 you will find the following: 3. Definition of fair delivery - the arm A ball is fairly delivered in respect of the arm if, once the bowler's arm has reached the level of the shoulder in the delivery swing, the elbow joint is not straightened partially or completely from that point until the ball has left the hand. This definition shall not debar a bowler from flexing or rotating the wrist in the delivery swing There is nothing in the Laws which permits any straightening of the arm beyond a certain point in the delivery swing. Therefore the ICC sanctioned limits of straightening appear contrary to the Law as it is written. I wonder why, when this has been going on for years, MCC have remained silent and not rewritten the Law to include the ICC limits

  • Cricket-Junoon on February 9, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    Thanx George Sir! It was a very nice articles! I must say pretty much unbiased.

  • haseebmehmood on February 9, 2012, 10:36 GMT

    Dear George, thanks for the confirmation and emphatic, "On this subject, however, there can be no room for further speculation or doubt. Ajmal's action is fine. That is a scientific fact.".

  • DannoTheManno on February 9, 2012, 10:31 GMT

    @Nutcutllet - Geoff Griffin - In his second Test appearance in 1960 at Lord's, he became the first (and, as of November 2006, only) South African cricketer to take a hat-trick in a Test match, and also the first and only cricketer to take a Test hat-trick at Lord's. - It seems while many things have changed as you rightly point out. One thing that hasn't is the English habit of finding ways of discrediting players that outdo them.. accept defeat.

  • on February 9, 2012, 10:14 GMT

    Appreciate the clarification Mr. Dobell! Your outstanding analysis throughout this series has won you a 180 million fans! Keep it up!

  • reality_check on February 9, 2012, 10:08 GMT

    Can someone please teach PCB the art of interacting with the international media? This is sports not politics so don't try to be vague. It will only confuse the issue further. PCB should also put the players thru basic level of English language skills. Nothing wrong with it since ALL cricket playing countries use only one language i.e. English.

  • reality_check on February 9, 2012, 10:03 GMT

    Thanks to George Dobell and espncricinfo for clearing the Ajmal controversy (hopefully) once and for all. You can't control the media but I hope the senior commentators like Bob Willis and Michael Holding will show some maturity and won't bring it up again when they see Ajmal or any other bowler for that matter whom ICC have cleared. As the saying goes "If you can't beat them then join them". Instead of lambasting Ajmal, dilute the doosra issue by teaching the skill to English or Aussies or Windies so that it does not remain a "mystery". On the flip side, IF YOU DON'T AGREE WITH THE ACTION then patition the ICC to ban it across the board and not allow even .1 degree of allowance. Don't criticize and ruin Ajmal's career when doosra genie is already out of the bottle.

  • PakiPassion on February 9, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    Brilliant piece by ESPN :) hope the English media highlights this as this will clear any remaining doubts but then again Mr Bob Willis might never accept it lol

  • on February 9, 2012, 9:48 GMT

    @steve turner agreed however you know what the media is like here... mountain out of a molehill... look at cappello...

  • on February 9, 2012, 9:48 GMT

    its good for english media and specially for mr. bob. hope he can read it and it will help him knowing the new cricket. although, AJMAL can smile without limitation of degrees. lol

  • on February 9, 2012, 9:41 GMT

    @Nutcutllet what is clear is that ajmal is bowling within the gudelines he and every other bowler has been given. most bowlers do bowl with a slightly bent arm which straigthens..... Geoff Griffen was a fast bowler which i believe the throwing law was there to eradicate and it is no suprise to me that it was lords that he got humilated.... what is also clear is that since 2009 has played against every other team including england who have scored runs against him, even in the UAE but no other team or umpire needed to clear his action.... england players knew this also however did play mind games by not saying outright...go and watch most bowlers actions or even try bowling yourself with a straight arm throughout your action....

  • badmaash on February 9, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    Dobell just got himself 180 million fans =)

  • Theadilahmad on February 9, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    Time to face the music England, you were hassled by a better side. When Tendulkar failed to read Saeed's deliveries then probably none can.

  • ajmal1988 on February 9, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    Mohanan: Saeed Ajmal don't need to prove himself to anyone. He is a good bowler and did well against Sri Lanka. Mahela struggled with him and a lot of them couldn't pick him. When it comes to India, they can't face pakistan, and therefore Pakistan should just ignore them and not play them. It's good that Pak players don't play in IPL, it will all fall apart anyway. Pakistan Zindabad!

  • Asfandeyar on February 9, 2012, 8:57 GMT

    love u dobell... thnx for clearing a lot...

  • on February 9, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    outstanding detail by George..

  • sabirshah on February 9, 2012, 8:21 GMT

    ACCEPT THE DEFEAT PLZ PEOPLE OF 'GREAT BRITAIN' STOP SPREADING THE 'ACTION' RUMORS , JUST REMEMBER ONE THING IN 107 YEARS ONLY ONE TEAM HAS LOST AFTER BOWLED OUT WITHIN 100!!!!

  • Nutcutlet on February 9, 2012, 8:19 GMT

    In this age of slightly-bent arm tolerance, spare a kind thought for the departed Geoff Griffin who played two tests for SA in their 1960 tour of England. He too had a bent arm as the result of a childhood accident and was called for no balling time & time again on that tour, bringing to an end a career just two tests long. Indeed, he was additionally humilated at Lord's in the 2nd test (his last), by being required to finish his final over by bowling underarm. Even then, 'No ball!' was called, as he had not formally informed the umpire (was it Syd Buller?) that he was changing his action. How times do change! Once laws were laws - now rules (aka mutable laws) rule! Somewhere, I see the thin end of a long wedge. Please (this is a prayer of sorts) let not cricket become as other team sports: subject to all manner of unspeakable politics/pressure groups/vested interests. Meanwhile, I hope we do not forget that it pays to be born into the right age. Geoff Griffin died in 2006.

  • Kunal-Talgeri on February 9, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    A very lucid and apt article to explain the confusion surrounding Ajmal's bowling action. That aside, it is high time post-match interviews are done in languages that the cricketer concerned is comfortable with. If necessary, there can be an English-language translator. If cricket has to become a more global sport, then it must embrace more languages for its players to communicate in off the field. This has been done on a few occasions in cricket, and more often in football. But why not make it a standard option!?

  • SyedArbabAhmed on February 9, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    Bob willis read it please

  • on February 9, 2012, 7:50 GMT

    hats off ESPN and to ajmal

  • on February 9, 2012, 7:43 GMT

    Just go through this article and if any one have any sense left , should just look to have any other excuse, and that is how your batsmen played, not the bowler had a defect or as Bob willis started it showing his ability to create somthing out of nothing,when ever they are humbled they always look for woest of excuses.Stop this and accept the defeat like a better person.

  • on February 9, 2012, 7:22 GMT

    Nice to see a positive step taken by Cricinfo.com. very very good work. It'll help decrease the confusion created by Ajmal, who himself is confused, and what a shame for PCB, even they don't know the reality, This is why non-professionalism always differ the PCB from the other world of cricket.

  • mohanan on February 9, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    Even Sri Lanka (except Mahela) couldn't handle Saeed Ajmal in Dubai. So, How could England? Performing against India is the ultimate test for Saeed Ajmal.

  • theariezman on February 9, 2012, 7:07 GMT

    extremely amazing and fair article ... I think in future PCB should conduct special sitting with their players explaining how to deal with the media which tends to create confusion and controversies.

  • on February 9, 2012, 6:49 GMT

    Great work George, Thanx

  • on February 9, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    Very good report. Way to go George.

  • Vehari-Express on February 9, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    Wonderful report with complete details. Thanks for such good work

  • Kamcricfan on February 9, 2012, 6:21 GMT

    Thanks Cricinfo ! for the valuable information, being a cricket fan i would suggest that we all should appreciate good cricket. win or lose is a part of the game as far as its been played in good spirit. Honestly was expecting better from bob wills anyway to all pakistani cricket fans keep enjoying the historic win and don't let anyone kill your happiness. Goodluck Pakistan

  • sherishahmir on February 9, 2012, 5:33 GMT

    No room for controversies any more for talented and well deserved man of series, saeed ajmal. Hopefully rich experience of playing ajmal would be very valueable for english team as whole and in particular to their all frontline batsman against up coming series of S Lanka and India, who also got some very talented and good bowlers of spin. All the best to World # 1 test crcicket team for their exciting voyage of subcontinent.

  • mohanan on February 9, 2012, 5:25 GMT

    The moral of the story is a spinner needs an accident or two to perform well.....?!

  • Rahul_78 on February 9, 2012, 5:18 GMT

    Thanks to Cricinfo for doing a fine job in providing facts and analysis data to substantiate it. PCB and ICC should have done this themselves rather then someone going to them and asking for explanation. Hope few in the media and fans fraternity who had doubts have read this article. Good on you Ajmal, without doubt current no 1 spinner in the world.

  • on February 9, 2012, 4:18 GMT

    Well written Dobell. Thank you. I hope this closes the chapter on this. Lets celebrate his genius and achievements. Cheers.

  • Meety on February 9, 2012, 2:57 GMT

    @Zahidsaltin - from this article I would say that he bends his arm about 8 degrees. In the old days, he may of been called for throwing on the grounds of the illusion of a bigger bend in his arm from the elbow rotation. == == == I would love to know how Saqlain bowled the Doosra, as its the only way to bowl the Doosra legally is if you have some sort of ability for hyperextension in your joints. From memory Saqlain had a classical action & I don't remember any hint of throwing! I believe Murali had hyperextension in BOTH his elbow AND wrist, which explains the rubbery look of his action.

  • GoldenAsif on February 9, 2012, 2:41 GMT

    Great work George. An intelligent, informative, fascinating and absolutely vital report from you. This lays the Saeed Ajmal bowling action debate to rest

  • on February 9, 2012, 2:28 GMT

    Even the great Sachin Tendulkar had problem reading Ajmal's doosras during world cup. So my sincere request to English batsmen and media just to stop moaning and learn how to tackle the very best in field. English batsmen don't even look like club cricketers against quality spin. God save the English number 1 position .. LOL

  • Anwaruzz on February 9, 2012, 2:23 GMT

    Why these controversies comes out whenever Eng is bamboozled by a Pak bowler? The sultans of swing had to go thru similar gutter press moaning when they scythed op the Eng batting line up in two consecutive series in England with their innovative reverse swing. One should sit up and watch this new innovations like controlled reverse swing, doosra and now teesra. This are the innovations which keeps cricket still interesting where the batsman are having their way with regulations helping them piling up runs and records. Except for Warne, Imran, Wasim, Waqar, Saqlain, and now Azmal I did not see any other bowler creat a new thing to make cricket more enjoyable to watch, or have I missed someone?

  • jmcilhinney on February 9, 2012, 2:22 GMT

    This was an excellent and informative article. I'm sure that a lot of people, just like myself, did not know that the critical measurement was how much your arm straightened from its original angle during delivery. This information certainly vindicates Ajmal but I think that it also vindicates those like Willis who were questioning his action, assuming that they were similarly in the dark about the actual rule. If Ajaml's elbow is bent by 15.5 degrees when he releases then, if you think that the arm cannot be bent by more than 15 degrees, you would justifiably think that Ajmal's action is dodgy. It's all about your frame of reference. He's obviously a good bowler but it will be interesting to see whether future results indicate that he is great or that poor England batting flattered him somewhat. Let's not forget how much success Rehman had also and many Pakistani fans wanted him dropped. Ajmal's doosra is obviously hard to pick. Exactly how hard will be revealed in time.

  • Unmesh_cric on February 9, 2012, 1:30 GMT

    Great work Cricinfo! A lot of people assume that bent arm is not legitimate, while that is not the case. Thanks for the detailed analysis.

  • on February 9, 2012, 0:17 GMT

    It's not a problem with his action if he has had it tested but the usual problem with administators who don't know when and how to communicate. With an action like Ajmal's, this sort of controversy was entirely predictable and the sort of statements made by ICC today should have been publicised straight after the tests were complete. To the naked eye he chucks and if this has been shown not to be the case we need to know that before the media and anyone else start being silly.

  • BigDataIsAHoax on February 9, 2012, 0:07 GMT

    Love this piece. Being an analyst myself, Love it that scientific data has been used so comprehensively to shut all unwanted comments and speculations from the "Pundits" of cricket. way to Go AJMAL!

  • on February 8, 2012, 23:28 GMT

    Great work George much appreciated

  • on February 8, 2012, 23:25 GMT

    If he plays until 50, he could challenge Shane Warne's and Muralitharan's record of 708 and 800 wickets.

  • SharjeelAhmedKhan on February 8, 2012, 22:11 GMT

    Hats off Mr. George Dobell! I have followed you regularly and have been a fan of yours throughout the series. Your application on the defense of legitimate and good cricket is admirable here. I am a Pakistani who got badly prodded by Bill Lawry's statement earlier and yet again here was another controversy, but Englishmen like you have shown quite needed sincerity towards the game here and have silenced the murmurs. If any Pakistani thinks you've been a bit biased in the past, I will negate him and refer 'this article' to be read first. Confusions will vanish I'm sure. Well done! And most importantly, "Salute to Ajmal".

  • on February 8, 2012, 21:11 GMT

    Hats off George!!! The article's timing, content and importance cannot be understated. Very well written article which settle all the needless controversies.The English should concentrate on bolstering their defense rather than crying foul..

  • SomeCents on February 8, 2012, 21:06 GMT

    Now why couldn't all this have been said prior to now? Don't you think fans wonder as soon as they see bowlers with this sort of action? ICC expects fans to just hush? 20/20 fans maybe but not Test cricket fans! Treat the fans with more respect ICC! Make this sort of information public before it becomes blown up!

  • on February 8, 2012, 20:57 GMT

    Great work cricinfo! thanks for the clear up with a great example :)

  • on February 8, 2012, 20:11 GMT

    great to know this needless controversy is finally resolved. thanks for going the extra mile to vindicate a pakistani on this one GD. However, I do think you've done all international teams a favor by revealing this fact: "Ajmal's off-break and quicker ball actually cause his arm to straighten more - though only a fraction more - than his much-debated doosra". Hope england players aren't reading this...or that they don't know their fractions

  • on February 8, 2012, 19:52 GMT

    Great Article Dobell!!! Infact really a very beautiful clarification for Ajmal's legal action.

  • on February 8, 2012, 19:45 GMT

    It's only Bob Willis and the gutter press moaning here. Ajmal is a great bowler - the English batsmen simply need to learn how to play him. It's no use hiding

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on February 8, 2012, 19:44 GMT

    So his arm doesn't even straighten 15 degrees. That's absolutely perfect action. Legend in the making. Timely and comprehensive explanation by ICC.

  • doctornikki on February 8, 2012, 19:42 GMT

    i agree that a copy b sent to MR Willis so that he can sleep well...poor Bob

  • on February 8, 2012, 19:31 GMT

    I hope Andy Flower will now endorse his bowling action and can rather focus towards his batsmen and I also hope this will bring an end to the blame game!!

  • on February 8, 2012, 19:28 GMT

    Thank you Mr.Dobell for clarifying the issuel in a very good and easy way. cheers

  • CharlesCrasto on February 8, 2012, 19:25 GMT

    At the start of this series, a lot of readers (comprising mainly of my Pakistani brethren, unfortunately) started Dobell-bashing. I had commented then that all these haters should cut some slack and give Mr. Dobell a chance, as he has all the characteristics of a correspondent who researches thoroughly before reporting. As the series progressed, this trait was on display. Today's article was the icing on the cake. Well done Sir!!!!

  • bhattiirfan on February 8, 2012, 19:24 GMT

    thanks Dobell well done!

  • on February 8, 2012, 19:15 GMT

    Great Article by Mr. Dobell... Excellent work to silence the critics...!! Go On, Ajmal, we are with you...!!

  • on February 8, 2012, 19:15 GMT

    best off spinner in the game at the moment, as good as Murali was; the true pioneer of off spin was Saqlain Mushtaq, Ajmal is taking over the mantle from him..

  • on February 8, 2012, 19:10 GMT

    Lets get on with the game now!

  • on February 8, 2012, 19:03 GMT

    Great job Dobell for clear elaboration!!!

  • on February 8, 2012, 19:01 GMT

    Well done George Dobell and cricinfo! Well written and explained

  • cric.info. on February 8, 2012, 18:49 GMT

    Thanks for clarification. only point left uncleared is whether Ajmal's SMILE is within ICC limits.. :D willis, isn't it more angular than it need to be?

  • on February 8, 2012, 18:41 GMT

    please send a copy to Bob Willis too !

  • AM.Green on February 8, 2012, 18:34 GMT

    George, Thanks for putting the facts right. Once again, I believe there are people out there on Cricinfo who can use common sense and come forward with articles based on thorough research, instead of just writing articles based on biased opinion.

  • on February 8, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    very well written and explained. pak players: kindly take some body with you who can speak good english. well done dobell.

  • 1egend on February 8, 2012, 18:28 GMT

    wow ! Nothing to say except Ajmal is great bowler

  • on February 8, 2012, 18:24 GMT

    most real cricket fans already knew this as do most players... although i do think england were playing mind games with him but he was also very confident that he had been cleared...and nothing has changed!

  • on February 8, 2012, 18:04 GMT

    truly great article George Dobell .and thanks cricinfo for investigating and publishing it.

  • on February 8, 2012, 18:02 GMT

    Can you kindly fax a copy of your findings to Andy Flower ...

  • on February 8, 2012, 18:01 GMT

    Nice one... Kudos to George and cricinfo team....

  • IshaqMalik on February 8, 2012, 17:52 GMT

    I would hold Ajmal and PCB responsible here, he did not have to boast about his action (may white-washing england has gotten too much hot air in his head), if necessary, a more sensible response would have been "ICC has cleared me and I believe if there was a problem with my actions, the umpire would have told me about it". Only captains and Media Managers should be allowed to speak to media. (I'd let it be known that I am a Pakistani before my countrymen start bashing me ;-) )

  • the_blue_android on February 8, 2012, 17:41 GMT

    George Dobell writing an article supporting a pakistani bowler? wow!

  • on February 8, 2012, 17:40 GMT

    Thanks Dobell for taking the step and discussing this matter in detail. In my opinion, Ajmal should have not gone into a highly technical matter while talking to media.

  • pauliangenius on February 8, 2012, 17:37 GMT

    SIR THANK YOU for such an explanation. It is really complicated but you made the subject very clear and now there should be no controversies regarding his action. WELL SAID IN THE END: Ajmal's action is FINE. That is a scientific fact.

  • smjr on February 8, 2012, 17:33 GMT

    I dont think we need any discussion on this topic as ICC makes it very clear. Dear George Dobell I have great respect for your articles and interviews which you conducted. Please remove this article from the Web page

  • Rahulbose on February 8, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    Thanks to Cricinfo for reporting on the details of his action. I did not know they based the 15 deg rule on the average and not the maximum, sounds like a loophole to me.

    Also, the English middle order (Morgan, Bell, KP) all average below 50 in test matches. In Asia their averages are ( KP 34.79, Bell 36.75, Morgan 13.66) more like tail enders. How exactly does this lot become a "much-vaunted middle order".

  • usmanHM on February 8, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    Thanks George for coming forward and explaining the entire thing. It has been a matter of grave concern for everyone who love cricket, Pakistan cricket, and Ajmal. come on Ajmal, u r our hero and there is no need to talk much. ur performance speaks big time for u.

  • on February 8, 2012, 17:14 GMT

    Hats Off George!! for this wonderful explanation... we were concerned about this misleading situation. I am happy for the amount of work piece you have displayed and wanting to set you as a wonderful example for those who take their frustrations out when they cannot digest loss. This is a game of cricket, the more unbias you are, the more respect you get. Great Job!!! Hats Off

  • samweedi on February 8, 2012, 16:58 GMT

    This report is more than enough to shut everyone up once and for all, So no more speculations! Mr. Dobell I have become your fan...

  • brainbox on February 8, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    very good and insightful article

  • on February 8, 2012, 16:44 GMT

    thanks George.. You have given us a well needed piece of investigative journalism while others were only involved in speculative journalism

  • KarachiKid on February 8, 2012, 16:33 GMT

    Thanks for your detailed explanation. Saeed Ajmal keep going...

  • on February 8, 2012, 16:30 GMT

    good 1 dobell !great article u've written!

  • on February 8, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    Thank you George Dobell great work.

  • Perfect.Stranger on February 8, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    Good to hear this. So this controversy should end here. Lets dig out something else now.

  • stark-truth on February 8, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    Dobell, you are fast gaining a reputation for giving balanced and incisive views. It's been a pleasure reading your excellent piece on something - on an issue which could have easily spiraled into a damaging controversial one IF it was not handled in an unbiased manner by journalists. But it's marvelous to see how yellow journalism has been marginalized by respectable writers. Well done!

  • on February 8, 2012, 16:22 GMT

    Thanks a lot Espncricinfo.. Thanks very much..

  • on February 8, 2012, 16:14 GMT

    George deserves a lot of credit for this simple yet extremely vital piece of information to clarify all the doubts about his action............what a timely and precise article!!

  • Hamza.Shah on February 8, 2012, 15:57 GMT

    Credit where credit is due. Brilliant stuff from cricinfo for going into the depth of the issue and solving it once and for all. This will provide much needed relief for the fans, the bowler and most importantly will allow the critics to give it a rest (hopefully) It has been dragged long enough (sadly by the British media and some former cricketers) which has only taken away the gloss from an otherwise thrilling series. Well done Cricinfo and now lets get on with some cricket :)

  • on February 8, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    Thanks for the clarification, please send a copy of this to Bob Willis. Good Day.

  • kam_uk on February 8, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    Just a matter of time before english coaches start to teach quality spin bowling and in time time it will become an art - deja vu reverse swing. Time for the english commentators to wipe the egg of their faces!

  • on February 8, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    Excellent Piece! Applauds to Cricinfo for investigating this so thoroughly.

  • a.syed81 on February 8, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    Leave him alone and let him perform for the good. I bat if he didn't take wickets in this series nobody will question his action but why people have blue tears in their eyes.

  • on February 8, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    Well written and explained

  • on February 8, 2012, 15:46 GMT

    Well done George Dobell and cricinfo!

  • Ammade on February 8, 2012, 15:43 GMT

    Great! I am from pakistan and this explanation comes as a relief! :)

  • on February 8, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    Saeed Bhai should learn how the handle media people,

  • on February 8, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    Good to know! Wish you best of luck Saeed Ajmal!

  • sk12 on February 8, 2012, 15:25 GMT

    wow I didnt know that bowlers can actually bowl with a bent arm, and only the degree of straightening should be less than 15 deg. To think that I have been following the game most passionately for the last 16 years! But the rule kinda makes sense though, its only thru the straightening can a bowler can gain more speed and control (la baseball) as against just bowling through with the bent elbow.

  • on February 8, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    Good work George. Wonder if the Telegraph posters (including Simon Hughes) will now be silenced.

  • on February 8, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    Thanks for clarifying George. You and ESPN have done a great service by putting this important issue to rest. Advice to Ajmal and PCB - keep your mouth shut and just refer to ESPN's clarification when asked.

  • bestbuddy on February 8, 2012, 15:12 GMT

    To put Ajmals degree of flex in perspective, Glenn Mcgrath flexed his elbow on average by 13 degrees, while Jason Gillespie by 12 and Brett Lee between 14-15. So Ajmal's action is in fact more legal than these quick bowlers were

  • StarsnStumps on February 8, 2012, 15:09 GMT

    Thank You Mr. Dobell and Mr. Richardson for clarifying this, finally someone speaks sense. Your efforts are much appreciated.

  • Zahidsaltin on February 8, 2012, 15:08 GMT

    I would love to know where does Ajmal stands if he is judged by the old rules which were used before introduction of the new rule of 15 degrees. As I understand from the facts witten by you, his bowlling action will still be legal. Am I right?

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  • Zahidsaltin on February 8, 2012, 15:08 GMT

    I would love to know where does Ajmal stands if he is judged by the old rules which were used before introduction of the new rule of 15 degrees. As I understand from the facts witten by you, his bowlling action will still be legal. Am I right?

  • StarsnStumps on February 8, 2012, 15:09 GMT

    Thank You Mr. Dobell and Mr. Richardson for clarifying this, finally someone speaks sense. Your efforts are much appreciated.

  • bestbuddy on February 8, 2012, 15:12 GMT

    To put Ajmals degree of flex in perspective, Glenn Mcgrath flexed his elbow on average by 13 degrees, while Jason Gillespie by 12 and Brett Lee between 14-15. So Ajmal's action is in fact more legal than these quick bowlers were

  • on February 8, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    Thanks for clarifying George. You and ESPN have done a great service by putting this important issue to rest. Advice to Ajmal and PCB - keep your mouth shut and just refer to ESPN's clarification when asked.

  • on February 8, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    Good work George. Wonder if the Telegraph posters (including Simon Hughes) will now be silenced.

  • sk12 on February 8, 2012, 15:25 GMT

    wow I didnt know that bowlers can actually bowl with a bent arm, and only the degree of straightening should be less than 15 deg. To think that I have been following the game most passionately for the last 16 years! But the rule kinda makes sense though, its only thru the straightening can a bowler can gain more speed and control (la baseball) as against just bowling through with the bent elbow.

  • on February 8, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    Good to know! Wish you best of luck Saeed Ajmal!

  • on February 8, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    Saeed Bhai should learn how the handle media people,

  • Ammade on February 8, 2012, 15:43 GMT

    Great! I am from pakistan and this explanation comes as a relief! :)

  • on February 8, 2012, 15:46 GMT

    Well done George Dobell and cricinfo!