| Saeed Ajmal |
Calcutta: According to many, Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal is the best spinner playing the game at the moment.
He is certainly the No.1 off-spinner in the contemporary game. And he has a place in the top-10 bowlers’ rankings released by ICC on Monday.
But fact is, that none of that came into consideration when Ajmal was reported for suspect bowling action, during the first Test against Sri Lanka, in Galle.
Ajmal, who took his 10th five-wicket haul in the second innings of the Test, which Pakistan lost by seven wickets, was reported by the match officials, citing concerns over a number of deliveries that were considered to be suspect and concluded that the bowler’s action needed to be tested.
The report was handed over to Pakistan team manager Moin Khan on Sunday.
The off-spinner’s action will now be scrutinised under the ICC process relating to suspected illegal bowling actions reported in Tests, ODIs and T20Is.
As per ICC regulations, Ajmal, who has 174 Test scalps in 34 matches, will have to undergo tests within 21 days.
However, he can continue bowling until the outcome of the results, which will allow him to participate in the second and final Test starting Thursday.
Moin, however, has said that he is confident that Ajmal would be cleared.
“We were informed by the ICC and it came as a surprise.
“But it’s just a procedure as he is going to undergo a re-test on his action and we are sure he will be cleared and will be available thereafter.
“Meanwhile, we will play him in the next Test. There is no panic at all, he is still our best bowler and we all support him,” Moin was quoted as saying by a cricket-specific website.
The PCB, in a release, said that it would wait for the testing process to be completed before reacting.
“Once such a report has been made, the ICC rules take over and the entire process is controlled and regulated by these rules,” the PCB said.
“The PCB has no choice but to wait for the outcome of the process before proceeding further in the matter.”
This is the second instance of Ajmal being reported for suspect action. In April 2009, the bowler was reported for his action while bowling the doosra. But he was cleared the following month.
In the last couple of months, Sri Lanka off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson have been reported and subsequently banned from bowling due to illegal bowling actions.
According to a related report in a British daily, Ajmal could be tested at Cardiff Metropolitan University, which has recently been accredited as an official testing laboratory for bowling actions by the ICC. It is where Senanayake has been tested as well.
Earlier this year, Ajmal complained to the England and Wales Cricket Board when a tweet from Stuart Broad appeared to question his action.
Interestingly, Ajmal helped England’s Moeen Ali develop his spin bowling while playing for Worcestershire. Moeen has been lethal in the ongoing series against India.