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ICC rules on suspect bowling actions make no sense: Ajmal

Saeed Ajmal

Karachi : Left frustrated after his international career was derailed owing to a suspect bowling action, Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal has lashed out at the International Cricket Council, saying that the world body’s rules on the issue make no sense and will kill the art of off-spin bowling.

The 38-year-old said if the ICC wanted to enforce its new rules properly, it should first carry out assessment tests of all bowlers active in international cricket at present.

“Why just target the off-spinners? Why not the left arm spinners, leg-spinners or fast bowlers? I can tell you that I have been through this bowling assessment process so many times and have watched and studied this issue so closely that I can vouch that if tests were carried out there would be many other bowlers whose bowling actions would exceed the 15 degrees extension limit,” Ajmal told Geo Super channel.

“I don’t want to take names but there are bowlers including fast bowlers who are violating the new rules but no one is looking at them,” he said.

Ajmal, whose career was hampered last year when he was reported for a illegal bowling action, said he was also amazed that no one had found any fault in the bowling actions of Indian off-spinners Harbhajan Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin.

“If they put Harbhajan through a proper bowling assessment test now, I can safely tell you he will exceed the 15 degrees limit.”

Ajmal said when the new rules were first introduced last year, the ICC should have first given some time to all bowlers to sort their actions before the crackdown.

“At times it makes no sense to me. They cleared my bowling action in 2009 on medical grounds and after six years they say my bowling is illegal.

“I find it strange that Bilal Asif plays his first two ODIs and doesn’t take many wickets no one reports his action. As soon as he takes five wickets his action is reported by the umpires. They find fault with just two deliveries. I find this a joke.”

Ajmal, currently out of favour with the Pakistani selectors, said he got a feeling that Pakistani bowlers were targetted the most in the crackdown.

“Just before the World Cup they ruled me and Hafeez out.”   Ajmal said he was preparing to plead his case with the ICC and had sought the help of the Pakistan Cricket Board in this regard.

“I want to go and talk to the ICC and challenge their new rules on medical grounds. I had an accident when I was 13 or 14 and since than I have deformity in my right hand wrist and elbow and I can’t do anything about it. If through any operation I can have a normal hand I will do it. But to force me to change my action despite my medical condition is unjustified.”

He said he had asked the PCB to support him to challenge the ICC rules on medical grounds and was still waiting for their response.

“Even in 2009 my action was not within the 15 degrees limit. But I used my fingers and wrist more to bowl the doosra not my elbow. It is an art and if the ICC continues with its crackdown it will kill the art of off-spin bowling,” he said.

“On one hand they are arming the batsmen with heavier bats with meatier blades, rules in ODIs and T20 cricket weighed in their favour and than what do they expect us off-spin bowlers to do take a beating. Why can’t we be allowed to do something different to make it an even battle,” he added.

Ajmal appealed to the ICC to review its new rules especially for off-spinners and increase the elbow extension to at least 20 degrees to make it an even battle.

“Don’t kill the art of off-spin or doosra.” Ajmal, who took 178 wickets in 35 tests, 184 ODI wickets and 85 in T20 internationals has not played for Pakistan since April this year.

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