Pakistan v England 2011-12 February 8, 2012

The facts about Saeed Ajmal


ESPNcricinfo can today provide the facts that prove the legality of Saeed Ajmal's bowling action.

Ajmal was Man of the Series against England after taking 24 wickets in the three-Test series and playing a prominent role in Pakistan's first Test whitewash against England.

Ajmal caused confusion when he gave a TV interview following the series and appeared to indicate he had been given dispensation by the ICC to bowl above the 15-degree tolerance limit.

Countless fans have contacted ESPNcricinfo through social networking sites and by email asking us to clarify the situation regarding Ajmal. After a thorough investigation, including extensive discussion with the ICC, these are the facts.

  • Ajmal's action is well within the ICC range of tolerance. While he does bowl with a bend in his arm, it does not straighten more, on average, than about eight degrees.

  • His arm does come through at a bent angle but that is allowed so long as it doesn't straighten beyond the tolerance level.

  • The figure of 23.5 degrees mentioned by Ajmal is the average angle of his arm at the beginning of delivery.

  • The ICC put Ajmal, along with other bowlers, under constant scrutiny and evidence suggests that there has been no significant deterioration in Ajmal's action since he was tested in 2009.

  • Contrary to widespread belief, Ajmal's off-break and quicker ball actually cause his arm to straighten more - though only a fraction more - than his much-debated doosra.

  • The ICC is reluctant to discuss bowling actions in detail because officials fear the subject is too complicated to explain.

For the full story read senior cricket correspondent George Dobell's piece from Dubai.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • The on February 11, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    Ha ha - he doesn't speak English! Good one! I sympathise with second language difficulties when interviewed around the world, but I'm HIGHLY unlikely to accidentally say something in Urdu to the effect of "I have a special dispensation from the ICC to straighten my arm by 23 degrees because I once suffered an elbow injury in an accident."

    He clearly meant and understood the words: - ICC - special - 23 degrees - elbow - accident

    so I think we're owed the explanation (in Urdu, through a translater) of what he ACTUALLY meant to say that contained those words in sequence. Not from some bloke in Dubai saying what he thinks Ajmal meant, but Ajmal himself.

  • Dummy4 on February 11, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    Saeed Ajmal is the king of spin today and i think he will be remembered ever in cricket history.....saeed Pakistan proud of You

  • Irfan on February 10, 2012, 21:20 GMT

    While we celebrate the brilliance of Saeed Ajmal, we should not forget the menacing accuracy of Abdul Rehman. On any given day, either one of them was just as dangerous and un-playable. Infact, during first 2 tests, Rehman bowled much less number of overs than Ajmal and it was only the 3rd test where he bowled a lot. So kudos to both of them. On the other hand, it would be really interesting to now see Pak in an overseas test series in Eng, Aus or S.Africa. I cannot wait for that.... And honestly, I would be more than happy even if they lose the series but fighting out in each of the game. If they can do that... future is bright for Pak.

  • Dummy4 on February 10, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    seed ajmal is the best there and the best there will be

  • Michael on February 10, 2012, 9:28 GMT

    England should employ Murali as their coach. Had enough of Andy Flower coming out with silly excuses. Ajmal's action, England were Undercooked, long time off, blah, blah, blah.......Andy get on with it or get out!!

  • Sistla on February 10, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    his interview was basically he didnt understand question & he simply can't speak fluent english. i would rather suggest stop talking especialy on these matters. BETTER AVOID SOME FACTS COMING OUT.

  • Dummy4 on February 10, 2012, 7:02 GMT

    That's nothing new ... Few in england are really sore losers.... they have to cover up somehow...there is nothing to get bothered about from Pakistan's point of view. I'm hoping to see more thrilling action and close encounters in ODIs and T20s.

  • Matthew on February 10, 2012, 0:54 GMT

    I have also spoken to many cricketing mates during the series and asked about Ajmal and not one of them had an issue.

  • Matthew on February 10, 2012, 0:52 GMT

    Not one quality paper in Britain has had a bad word to say about Ajmal or his action. And all england fans, if not fully congratulating Pakistan, accept that they were beaten by the better side and are making no excuses.

  • Dummy4 on February 9, 2012, 22:42 GMT

    Saeed Ajmal = living legend! whether someone likes it or not. End of story.

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