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

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