Pakistan news January 25, 2015

Ajmal hopeful of getting cleared after retest

ESPNcricinfo staff

Saeed Ajmal: "My action was chest-on before. Now it is more side-on and I am pivoting a little." © AFP

Saeed Ajmal, who underwent official ICC retesting on his remodeled bowling action in Chennai on Saturday, believes that his doosra is within the legal limit now and is hopeful of being cleared to bowl again in international cricket.

"I felt those who tested me were happy with my action," Ajmal told the Hindu. "I am hopeful, but ultimately the decision rests with them."

Ajmal was suspended from bowling in September after his action was deemed to be illegal for all deliveries. Before he was banned, tests revealed his elbow extension was going up to 42 degrees on average, leading to his suspension. He has been undergoing extensive remedial work on his action with former Pakistan spinner Saqlain Mushtaq. He went through three unofficial Tests that showed his offspinner and faster ball were within the legitimate 15-degree limit, though his doosra was still beyond the limit.

The goal had been to get all his deliveries, including the doosra, cleared, Ajmal said, because he wanted to play a leading role for Pakistan. "I want to be a frontline bowler, the No.1 bowler in the side. I don't want to make up numbers. I would rather retire than do that.

"If I had just wanted to bowl the offspinner, I could have got my action cleared in two weeks. But I want to retain my variety. I think my doosra is within permissible limits now."

Ajmal said he had bowled 30 deliveries at the testing facility in Chennai. "I bowled five different kinds of balls six times each. I bowled the doosra, the carrom ball, the offspinner, seam-up and the quicker one.

"If they are not happy with my doosra, then I feel I can still bowl effectively with my offspinner and other deliveries."

Ajmal said he had made several changes to his action in order to reduce the flex. "Previously my arm used to come from behind my body. Now it is coming from the side. My front foot used to be in the air at delivery stride. Now it is on the ground. Earlier, I looked upwards while releasing the ball. Now I look at the batsman with a straight head. My action was chest-on before. Now it is more side-on and I am pivoting a little."

Saqlain's involvement had been crucial in the whole process, Ajmal said. "My action was judged to be well over 40 degrees. Saqlain bhai told me there was no use being depressed. He inspired me to pick myself up. I have bowled around 12,000 deliveries with my new action in the last four months."

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