Ajmal's official reassessment on January 24
Suspended Pakistan offspinner Saeed Ajmal will undergo official ICC testing in Chennai on January 24, to assess his remodelled bowling action. If Ajmal's action is found to be legal, his ban from bowling in international cricket will be lifted. If he fails the test again, though, the ICC's Bowling Review Group (BRG) will specify a period during which Ajmal will not be entitled to approach the ICC for reassessment.
Ajmal was suspended from bowling in September after his action was deemed to be illegal for all deliveries, and he was not ready with his reworked action in time to make it to Pakistan's squad for the World Cup - the deadline for submitting squads to the ICC was January 7. But he is important to the side beyond the World Cup, NCA head coach Mohammad Akram said, and so he was not rushed back. This is the second time the PCB has applied to the ICC for a date; earlier the PCB withdrew their request, despite being given the date of December 7, on the advice of the experts working with Ajmal.
"We feel he is ready for re-assessment," Akram told ESPNcricinfo. "We took time and didn't push hard for his return because the idea was to make sure that he is bowling within the limit. His career though doesn't end with the World Cup, what important is that he continue to play cricket even after the World Cup as cricket is his bread and butter and he has serviced Pakistan in very difficult time."
If Ajmal passes the test and returns to bowling but is reported again in international cricket before September 2016, he will be banned straightaway for a year.
Before he was banned, tests revealed his elbow extension was going up to 42 degrees on average, leading to his suspension. Over the last four months he had been undergoing extensive remedial work on his action with former spinner Saqlain Mushtaq. The first phase of the rehabilitation was carried out at the PCB's National Cricket Academy in Lahore and Ajmal was then sent to the facility of biomechanics laboratory at Loughborough. During his remedial work he went through three unofficial Tests that showed his stock delivery, the offspinner, and faster ball were within the legitimate 15-degree limit, though his doosra was still beyond the limit.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson