Pakistan news September 9, 2014

Saeed Ajmal banned from bowling

ESPNcricinfo staff

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Samiuddin: Appealing Ajmal's ban could be tricky

In a huge blow to Pakistan, offspinner Saeed Ajmal has been banned from bowling in international cricket by the ICC after his action was deemed to be illegal for all deliveries. Ajmal, who has been Pakistan's lead spinner in all formats in recent years, was reported after the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle last month.

The decision to ban him was taken after an ICC accredited team of bio-mechanics experts tested his action at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane. Ajmal can apply to the ICC for a re-assessment at any time after modifying his action.

"An independent analysis has found the bowling action of Pakistan's offspinner Saeed Ajmal to be illegal and, as such, the player has been suspended from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect," the ICC said. "The analysis revealed that all his deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted under the regulations."

Ajmal, however, was hopeful that a medical condition - the natural bend in his arm because of an accident - would work in his favour when the appeal is made to the ICC's bowling review group.

"I am positive about this and not worried because I believe I can make the World Cup," Ajmal told reporters in Faisalabad. "They are yet to consider my medical reports and once they do it I am sure there shouldn't be any problem. If one has a medical problem then what can he do? So I am 100% positive and hoping for the best."

Ajmal is the No. 1 ranked bowler in the ICC ODI rankings and is among the top ten in Tests and Twenty20 internationals. He his the highest wicket-taker across formats in the last three years.

This was the second instance of Ajmal being reported for a suspect action. In April 2009, the bowler had been reported while bowling the doosra, and was cleared the following month.

The issue of suspect bowling actions had come up during the ICC cricket committee meeting in June, where there was a general consensus among members that the current methods used to detect illegal actions were imperfect. It had recommended changes to help match officials get more support from biomechanists in order to identify illegal actions with "more confidence".

In the last few months, Sri Lanka offspinner Sachithra Senanayake and New Zealand's Kane Williamson were reported and subsequently banned from bowling due to illegal bowling actions.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on September 11, 2014, 13:27 GMT

    Given the seemingly increasing occurrance of suspect actions, the IC should push ahead with the live monitoring technology that was reported on a year or so ago. A couple of probes (non-invasive) can be attached to the bowling arm and live data can be streamed to say the 3rd Umpires box. Problem fixed. The Ajmal thing concerns me. Yes his arm is obviously bent when bowling, but I honestly reckon there are other spinners around who straightened their arm more. To me Ajmal doesnt straighten his arm much. How can a bloke who has been around so long, with an odd action not be scrutinised more thoroughly earlier in his career?

  • Jason on September 11, 2014, 13:21 GMT

    @GManojk, its always been the same, consider Fast Leg theory, the restrictions over leg fielders behind square, the use of Pad Play from the early 20th Century. Then there's the restrictions on the number of short balls alloewed, fielding restrictions in Shorter formats.

    @Ahmad Uetian, I understand the point you are making, but by increasing the angle all that will happen is another bowler comes along and bowlers with a 25 degree flex, then the same arguments will be made for a further increase, again. 15 Degrees is enough, and no more.

    By all means start to put restrictions on bats (depth), or allow balls pitching out side leg to be considered for LBW, but the flex rules are a no go as far as as im concerned.

  • Manojkumar on September 11, 2014, 10:10 GMT

    Cricket nowadays becoming a batsmen's game. I am an Indian cricket fan, but a huge fan saeed ajmal. I watched him play in UAE against ENG. That was fantastic

    ICC should allow him to play in the next series against aussies. He is the now backbone of pakistan team. Without him the series will not be an even contest between bat and ball.

  • Anil on September 11, 2014, 9:10 GMT

    I don't know what happning to icc. Batsman can play any shot like revrse sweep,dil-scoop,cut shot,helicopter.but they are using geometry angles for blowers...good icc

  • Dummy4 on September 10, 2014, 11:41 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding you have written in response to another person's post "There has to be a line somewhere, and 15 degrees is the limit as that's what a human eye can detect."

    This is exactly my point as well that the limit of flex degrees has to be based on the amount beyond which human eye can perceive with a little benefit of doubt to bowlers. exactly the leeway bowlers of past would have enjoyed. But only difference b/w my point and your point is that you say 15 degree is the limit & I say give a little benefit of doubt to bowlers so let the limit be set at 22 degrees i.e. 1/4 of right angle.

    However worth mentioning that from the Ajmal's footage that we see it appears like 45 degree flex so he would have still suffered ban.

  • ali on September 10, 2014, 10:34 GMT

    Stopping reverse swing by introducing new ball on both ends, stopping bouncers and stopping doosra. No wonder why teams are scoring 300 plus in one days on regulars basis. It's like hand cuffing bowlers hands and saying fight  Just hitting sixes is not fun I want to see batsman dancing , ducking and wickets flying as well 

  • Jason on September 10, 2014, 9:53 GMT

    @Cready, the justification for the 15 degrees was that is the minimum flex the human eye can detect.

    You also need to realise is that all bowlers have a natural flex, though its minimal, a I've stated there have been rules over the amount of flex allowed. all the change to 15 did was standardise the rule, and cater for what it visible with the naked eye

  • Sarang on September 10, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    @Cready ... Absolutely agree with your point of view. This has been my view since I heard that Muralidharan was cleared as he had a natural deformity in his arm which was considered irreparable. If he indeed had that issue, he should have been politely asked to retire. There is a general feeling that the 15 degree rule was created to keep high profile players like Murali, Shoaib Akhtar still in the game so that Cricket doesn't lose its financial value. Gilly said as much in his book. Any bend in the arm while bowling is just visible to the naked eye which should be immediately no-balled given this is cricket and not baseball. To all those people who are supporting Ajmal or bending the arm in general, would you agree if the batsman are allowed to get a Titanium bat when they want to hit sixes? What if Sachin, Lara, Ponting were allowed to bat twice in an innings because they brought so much viewership (read dollars) to the game? Laws are above everyone else.

  • Muhammad on September 10, 2014, 8:45 GMT

    There are lines for no balls. Bowler knows he has overstepped and he corrects it immediately next ball. There are counts for bouncers as well. There are timers for slow over rates.

    Similarly, there should be mechanisms during the match which should tell the bowler that his arm has flexed beyond the set limit and he needs to back off. Otherwise, it makes no sense for such policing.

  • Muhammad on September 10, 2014, 8:08 GMT

    Ajmal says that they have yet to consider his medical reports. He was cleared last time as well because he had some abberation in his arm due to accident. If his action has changed considerably from last time, then he should definitely correct it. Otherwise if he was cleared last time because he was helpless against a natural abberation how can he overcome it now.

    Moreover, I am against this selective purging. Every single player should get his action clear now.