Pakistan offspinner Saeed Ajmal has been reported for a suspect bowling action, following the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.
As per ICC regulations, Ajmal will have to undergo testing of his action within 21 days, but can continue bowling until the results of the test are known.
According to the ICC, the match officials’ report cited 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 has been handed over to Pakistan’s team manager, Moin Khan.
Moin was confident Ajmal would be cleared. “We were informed by the ICC and it came up as a surprise,” he said. “But it’s just a procedure as he is going to undergo a re-test on his action and we are sure there 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.”
The PCB, in a release, said it would wait for the testing process to be completed before reacting to the matter. “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 a suspect action. In April 2009, the bowler was reported for his action while bowling the doosra, and was cleared the following month.
Ajmal was at the centre of a controversy in May this year when England’s Stuart Broad appeared to question the legality of the spin bowler’s action. According to Ajmal, a tweet from Broad had seemed to suggest that the action he used on the field was different from the one he employed while testing. Following the tweet, Ajmal had sought an explanation from Broad and the ECB.
The issue of suspect bowling actions also came up during the ICC cricket committee meeting in June, where there was a general consensus among members that the current methods used to detect illegal actions were imperfect. It had recommended changes to help match officials get more support from biomechanists in order to identify illegal actions with “more confidence”.
In the last couple of months, Sri Lanka offspinner Sachithra Senanayake and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson have been reported and subsequently banned from bowling due to illegal bowling actions.