Pakistan news November 5, 2015

Ajmal faces action after testing outburst

Saeed Ajmal has been cleared to bowl after remodelling his action © AFP

Saeed Ajmal is facing disciplinary action after launching a scathing assessment of the ICC's attitude towards illegal bowling actions.

Ajmal, the Pakistan spinner, was forced to re-model his bowling action after testing in September 2014 suggested he exceeded the legal limits by some distance.

While he was cleared to return to the professional game in February, his new action appears to provide him with little of the devil his bowling had previously. He has not played international cricket since April and missed his country's 2-0 series victory over England in the UAE, opponents against whom he claimed 24 wickets at 14.70 on their previous visit in 2012.

Now Ajmal has accused the ICC of double-standards, claiming that off-spinners have been unfairly targeted in the purge of illegal bowling actions and suggesting that the players of some countries - notably Pakistan - are more likely to be reported than those from some others. In particular, he delivered an unflattering - and perhaps slanderous - assessment of Harbhajan Singh's bowling action.

The PCB quickly responded by issuing Ajmal with a show notice, while it is possible that legal action could also follow from Harbhajan, whose success in remodelling his bowling action having twice been reported was recently hailed as "fantastic" by ICC chief executive, Dave Richardson.

"Why just target the off-spinners?"Ajmal asked in interviews with Zainab Abbas on Dunya News and with Geo Super. "Why not the left-arm spinners, legspinners or fast bowlers?

"I can tell you that I have been through this bowling assessment process so many times and have watched and studied this issue so closely that I can vouch that if tests were carried out, there would be many other bowlers whose bowling actions would exceed the 15 degrees extension limit.

"I don't want to take names but there are still bowlers, including fast bowlers, who are violating the new rules but no one is looking at them.

"If they put Harbhajan Singh through a proper bowling assessment test now, I can safely tell you he will exceed the 15 degrees limit."

Richardson, speaking at a launch event for the World Cup about 12 months ago, said of Harbhajan: "now there is no question mark about the way he bowls".

Ajmal also questioned the timing of the reports, hinting that he felt it was motivated by a desire to destabilise the Pakistan team.

"Just before the World Cup they ruled me and Hafeez out," he said.

"I find it strange that Bilal Asif plays his first two ODIs and doesn't take many wickets, so no one reports his action. As soon as he takes five wickets, his action is reported by the umpires. They find fault with just two deliveries. I find this a joke.

An ICC spokesman, however, insisted that bowlers of all types and of all nationalities were treated equally.

"We have a robust and transparent process to test bowlers," the spokesman told ESPNcricinfo. "It is consistent to all countries and all types of bowlers. Indeed, a fast bowler has been reported and players from various nations have been reported.

"We have five ICC accredited testing centres around the world in which members of ICC Panel of Human Movement Specialists conduct tests using the ICC Standard Analysis Protocols. These protocols are the same for anyone who undergoes assessment of his bowling action. As a result, following assessments, some bowlers have been cleared to continue bowling; some have needed to re-model their actions."

"Furthermore, a player can within seven days after receiving the independent assessment report seek a review of any procedural aspect of his case, but no player has done so."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments