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ICC bans Saeed Ajmal from bowling

Updated September 09, 2014

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Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal (L) arrives with a Pakistan official (R) at the Australian National Cricket Centre, Brisbane. — Photo by AFP
Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal (L) arrives with a Pakistan official (R) at the Australian National Cricket Centre, Brisbane. — Photo by AFP

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has declared Pakistan spin maestro Saeed Ajmal's bowling action as illegal, against the backdrop of which Ajmal will not be able to bowl at the international level.

Not only 'doosra', ICC also declared Ajmal's off-spinner as illegal and enforced a ban on world's top-ranked spinner.

Must read: Will this be the end of Ajmal?

"An independent analysis has found the bowling action of Pakistan's off-spinner Saeed Ajmal to be illegal and, as such, the player has been suspended from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect," an ICC release said.

"The analysis revealed that all his deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted under the regulations."

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to appeal against the decision.

Also read: 'Why question Ajmal's action now?'

Ajmal's action was declared suspect by field umpires Ian Gould and Bruce Oxenford during the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle on Aug 11 over a number of deliveries that were considered to be suspect.

The 36-year-old spinner travelled to Australia where he had tests conducted on his action.

Ajmal, who has taken 183 wickets in 111 ODIs and 178 wickets in 35 Tests, was one of five bowlers that were reported for having suspect actions since a worldwide crackdown began in June.

Ajmal’s mystery ball and the one under most scrutiny was his doosra, the away spinner delivered by an arm which often needs to straighten to get maximum whip.

The current law allowed bowlers to flex their elbow at an angle of 15 degrees. This has been the case for a decade, with the law introduced due to bowlers such as Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralidaran who was proved to have a medical condition which meant he had a permanently bent elbow.

It was not for the first time that Ajmal had been reported in international matches. He was previously reported in 2009 during a one-day series against Australia in Dubai but cleared all the tests.

Ajmal has often troubled batsman with his 'doosra'. But it was the same delivery that ran him into trouble in 2009 before he was cleared by University of Western Australia.

In May England's fast bowler Stuart Broad had also questioned Ajmal's bowling action and said that the off-spinner used different bowling actions on the field and during testing.

Also read: Coaches yet to start work on Ajmal’s action

Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif said Ajmal's suspension was a major setback for Pakistan as there's a lack of quality spin options in reserve. “The sad part is that we haven't tried any other specialist off-spinner in international matches and now our World Cup plans are severely dented,” Latif said.

"[Pakistan] bowling is finished without Ajmal. I had doubts for the last few months ...because the way he bowls it's hard to get away with at in test matches." Latif doubts there will be enough time for Ajmal to moderate his actions, have new tests, and be cleared by the ICC before the start of the World Cup.

Pakistan is scheduled to play against Australia and New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates over the next four months. Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in the UAE have been rewarding venues for the off-spinner, claiming 67 wickets in 12 test matches.

FACTBOX

Born: Oct 14, 1977 at Faisalabad, Punjab.

Made his international debut on July 2, 2008 in Karachi in an ODI against arch-rivals India.

Made his test debut at Galle in 2009 against hosts Sri Lanka.

Has played 35 tests for Pakistan, claiming 178 wickets at an average of just over 28.

Has played 111 ODIs, claiming 183 wickets at an average marginally over 22.

Has 85 wickets from 63 Twenty20 Internationals.

Made a late test debut at the age of 32, claiming five wickets in the Galle test.

Known for his variations and considered a premier exponent of the controversial doosra deilvery, which spins the other way.

Claimed his best match haul of 11 for 111 in the 2011 Providence test against West Indies.

Was reported for suspect bowling action in 2009 before being cleared.

Reported again last month after the Galle test against Sri Lanka.

Suspended on Tuesday after the ICC found all his delivery actions illegal.