Bowling action crackdown continues after Ajmal suspension
Pakistan cricket officials on Thursday suspended 16 domestic bowlers with suspect actions in a major crackdown against chucking following the ban of ace spinner Saeed Ajmal.
Ajmal was suspended earlier this month after he was found to straighten his elbow up to 43 degrees, well above the prescribed limit of 15.
The ban jolted the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) into action to avoid further international embarrassment.
“We have 29 bowlers reported for suspect bowling actions in the current home cricket season and half of them were reported twice, so we have banned around 16 from domestic matches,” director of domestic cricket Inthikab Alam told reporters.
“All these bowlers will not be allowed to play in domestic matches and will go to the national cricket academy to get their actions altered,” said Alam, a former Pakistan captain and leg-spinner.
To deal with the problem, the PCB has revived its biomechanics laboratory in Lahore this month after it was left idle for seven years over allegations of financial irregularities in buying its machinery.
Ajmal was the seventh Pakistani reported for suspect actions in international matches, joining Shahid Afridi, Shabbir Ahmed, Mohammad Hafeez, Riaz Afridi, Shoaib Malik and Shoaib Akhtar.
Even the two spinners called up to replace Ajmal while he undergoes remedial work — Atif Maqbool and Adnan Rasool — have been reported.
Under the ICC rules bowlers are permitted to straighten their bowling arm up to 15 degrees, which has been established as the point at which any straightening will become visible to the naked eye.
Speaking separately, Captain Misbah-ul Haq said he was “praying” for Ajmal, who is ranked the world’s best one-day bowler, to return soon.
“First of all I will pray Ajmal returns to the team for the World Cup,” he said.
Australia and New Zealand co-host the mega event from February 14 to March 29.
“But we also have to be ready to play without him. If a player is not there you have to cope with that situation. There is no doubt he is a great bowler and will be missed.”
Suspect actions in the news since June
3 June: Sri Lanka off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake is reported for a suspected illegal bowling action and ordered to undergo testing within 21 days.
22 June: New Zealand off-spinner Kane Williamson is reported for a suspected illegal bowling action and ordered to undergo testing within 21 days.
28 June: The ICC Cricket Committee meets in Melbourne and recommends an increased focus on bowlers with questionable actions.
12 July: Senanayake is banned from bowling by the ICC after undergoing official testing in Cardiff.
23 July: Williamson is banned from bowling by the ICC after undergoing official testing in Cardiff.
11 August: Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal is reported for a suspected illegal bowling action and ordered to undergo testing within 21 days.
15 August: The ICC confirms three newly accredited testing centres will be unveiled in the coming months.
22 August: Zimbabwe off-spinner Prosper Utseya is reported for a suspected illegal bowling action and ordered to undergo testing within 21 days.
25 August: Bangladesh off-spinner Sohag Gazi is reported for a suspected illegal bowling action and ordered to undergo testing within 21 days.
25 August: Ajmal begins official testing at Cricket Australia’s National Cricket Centre in Brisbane.
9 September: Ajmal banned with immediate effect by ICC. Pakistan Cricket Board say they will weigh up their options, while Ajmal says a medical condition is to blame and he remains confident of playing in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.
10 September: Bangladesh fast bowler Al-Amin Hossain is reported for a suspected illegal bowling action and ordered to undergo testing within 21 days.
13 September: PCB release details of ICC report that show Ajmal was found to be straightening arm nearly three times the legal limit.