KARACHI: Pakistan’s cricket chief on Friday revealed that spinner Saeed Ajmal’s arm extension was on average more than double the permitted limit during tests which led to the spinner’s suspension from international cricket.

The 36-year-old was banned on Tuesday after failing tests in an Australian biomechanics lab ordered when umpires reported his bowling action during last month’s Galle Test against Sri Lanka.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan said Ajmal’s arm had vastly exceeded the permitted 15 degrees of straightening.

“Some of the deliveries had very high elbow extension, over 40 deg­rees,” Shaharyar said of the 23-page report on the tests.

Under International Cricket Council (ICC) rules, a bowler is allowed to straighten his elbow by a maximum of 15 degrees while bowling — any more is deemed to be throwing, or “chucking”.

Shaharyar said it was not just occasional deliveries that were a problem — the average extension during Ajmal’s deliveries was also very high.

“The mean of Ajmal’s deliveries was 37 degrees which again is high and now we have a challenge to do the remedial work,” said Shaharyar.

Ajmal will appear before a PCB committee on illegal deliveries on Monday to start work to bring his action back within the rules.

PCB has also hired former off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq to help Ajmal overcome flaws in his action.

Saqlain is widely regarded as inventor of “doosra”, a delivery which turns the other way than the normal off-spin but is controversial as experts — and some bowlers — believe it cannot be bowled without transgressing the 15-degree limit.

After the remedial work, Ajmal can apply to the ICC for another reassessment of his action and if cleared he can resume bowling at international level.

The loss of Ajmal is a major blow to Pakistan’s chances in next month’s series against Australia in United Arab Emirates and more importantly in next year’s World Cup.

Australia and New Zealand co-host the World Cup in February-March.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2014

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