Ajmal says elbow 'not usual'

2014-09-09 12:29
Saeed Ajmal (Gallo Images)

Karachi - Banned Pakistani off-spinner Saeed Ajmal has vowed to correct his illegal bowling action and return to cricket before next year's Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) banned the 36-year-old earlier on Tuesday after biomechanic tests revealed all his deliveries breached the permissible limit for straightening of the elbow joint.

"The ban is not a problem for me right now. The ICC has stopped me from bowling because my elbow is bending beyond the 15 degrees allowed by the ICC and I know I can correct that," Ajmal said.

"It is very disappointing to know the results of the tests but I am a fighter and I know what I have to do to get back into international cricket before the World Cup," he said.

Ajmal, who turns 37 next month, said he was open to approaching former players to help him correct his action which was first reported in 2009.

"Playing in the World Cup and doing well for Pakistan is a dream for me and I am not going to give up on that," said Ajmal, who has been Pakistan's top spinner in all formats.

Ajmal has about five months to correct his action and appeal for a reassessment in order to play in the World Cup.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan conceded it was a big jolt coming less than six months before next year's 50-over marquee event.

"Obviously it is a big shock for us when we are preparing for the World Cup. But we are waiting for the final report and we can appeal in two weeks time against the ICC decision."

He said the ban followed change in ICC protocol on testing bowlers with suspect actions.

"Other bowlers from other countries are also being reported but what is surprising is most of them are off-spinners like Saeed," he said.

"We have to see what is the best we can do for Saeed and what is best for Pakistan cricket."

Khan felt someone like former pace bowler Waqar Younis, who is the head coach of the team, can help Ajmal emerge from the episode.

Chief selector Moin Khan hopes Ajmal will quickly get his action cleared but was also working on a back-up plan.

"We have time before the World Cup, so Saeed can sort out his bowling action issues but we have also already called up two or three promising spinners to the National Cricket Academy to have a look at them," he said.

"We need to find a replacement for Saeed until he is cleared to bowl again because we have a tough series against Australia coming up."

Starting next month, Pakistan play one Twenty20 International, three ODIs and two tests against Australia in the United Arab Emirates.

"Saeed is a strong character and I am sure he will work hard to be ready for the World Cup," Moin said.

Former captain Rashid Latif said he was not really surprised with the ban after the new protocols for testing bowling actions came into effect.

"In the past bowlers were given the benefit of doubt on medical grounds but apparently now things have changed. But Saeed is a fighter and Pakistan still needs him for the World Cup," Latif told Reuters.

"I think the PCB should get our former great spinners like Saqlain (Mushtaq), Abdul Qadir and Mushtaq (Ahmed) to work with him on his action."

After Ajmal was reported last month, PCB set up a committee of bowling experts to identify and work on bowlers in domestic cricket with suspect bowling actions.

Dodgy bowling action has remained a problem for Pakistan cricket for a while with Shoaib Akhtar, Shabbir Ahmed, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik being reported in the past.

Leading bowlers who have been reported for illegal actions in international cricket following Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal's suspension on Tuesday:

Australia: Ian Meckiff, Brett Lee

Bangladesh: Sohag Gazi, Abdur Razzak

England: James Kirtley

India: Harbhajan Singh

Pakistan: Saeed Ajmal, Shabbir Ahmed, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Riaz Afridi, Shahid Afridi

New Zealand: Kane Williamson

South Africa: Johan Botha

Sri Lanka: Muttiah Muralitharan, Sachithra Senanayake

West Indies: Shane Shillingford, Marlon Samuels, Jermaine Lawson

Zimbabwe: Prosper Utseya, Grant Flower, Henry Olonga

Read more on:    cwc 2015  |  saeed ajmal  |  cricket

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