Ajmal action gets ICC's green signal

The ICC has cleared the bowling action of Pakistan offspinner Saeed Ajmal

Cricinfo staff
Saeed Ajmal celebrates his first ODI wicket, Pakistan v India, Super Four, Asia Cup, Karachi, July 2, 2008

Saeed Ajmal will be permitted to continue bowling at the international level subject to certain conditions  •  AFP

The ICC has cleared the bowling action of Pakistan offspinner Saeed Ajmal. In a statement on Monday, it confirmed that Ajmal's action was found to be legal in an independent test conducted by Bruce Elliott, a member of the ICC Panel of Human Movement Specialists, and the player could, therefore, continue to bowl in international cricket.
Ajmal's doosra was reported by the umpires during the second ODI against Australia in Dubai last month but he was allowed to continue bowling till Elliott's assessment of his action was completed.
During a comprehensive analysis it was revealed the amount of elbow extension in Ajmal's bowling action for all deliveries was within the 15-degree level of tolerance permitted in the ICC regulations. The analysis was performed by Elliott in Perth on May 14.
"We have received a report from biomechanic expert Bruce Elliott in which Ajmal's action while bowling a contentious delivery has been cleared," Zakir Khan, PCB's director of operations told AFP. "Elliott has sent his report to the PCB as well as to the ICC."
A relieved Ajmal said the ICC's decision removed a huge burden. "I was carrying a 50-kilo bag on my head and Sunday's decision has allowed me to throw that bag off my head," Ajmal told AFP. "I now feel that my punishment is over and I am relieved and pleased.
"Now I am relieved and more focused and will do my best to take more and more wickets for my country. To help Pakistan clinch the World Twenty20 title is the first aim and the next is to get more and more wickets."
Ajmal also received the backing of his coach Intikhab Alam. "I am pleased for Ajmal," he said. "From the word go I was confident that his action will get all clear and now I hope that he performs to the best of his abilities."
Ajmal, however, will be permitted to continue bowling at the international level subject to certain conditions. The first of which is, "the effect of Elliott's report and any report from a biomechanical expert, cannot be to clear him without limitation in the future. The effect of Prof Elliott's report is simply to confirm that Ajmal is capable of bowling with an action which complies with ICC Regulations," said the release.
Second, "whenever Ajmal bowls in a match in the future, his action will be under the scrutiny of the match officials".
And finally, "according to the ICC regulations, the match officials will use the naked eye to determine whether his action complies with the Laws of Cricket. The permitted degree of elbow extension is 15 degrees and the level of tolerance was set at the point at which such elbow extension will begin to become noticeable to the naked eye. Accordingly, any degree of extension which is visible to the naked eye must and will be reported. "
Commenting on the results of the analysis and also restating the ICC's policy in relation to suspect illegal bowling actions, David Richardson, the ICC general manager, said, "Ajmal can continue to bowl in international cricket on the basis that he uses an action consistent to that used in the latest independent analysis of his action.
"However, it is important to emphasise that no bowler is ever 'cleared' as it is impossible to predict how a player might deliver the ball in the future. All bowlers are subject to further reporting if the match officials are of the view that they have concerns about whether a delivery or deliveries conform to the Laws of Cricket when observed with the naked eye."