Cricket: Ajmal's bowling within ICC rules

Pakistan cricket authorities and the International Cricket Council (ICC) have clarified the confusion over Saeed Ajmal's bowling action, saying the spinner has been cleared within the specified limits.

Ajmal himself created more confusion by claiming he had special dispensation from the ICC to straighten his arm beyond the allowed 15 degrees.

The 34-year-old off-spinner, who took 24 wickets in the 3-0 test series whitewash of England, claimed the ICC has allowed him extra leniency of up to 23.5 degrees.

ICC rules say a bowler can straighten his arm only up to 15 degrees, beyond which his action will be deemed illegal.

"I don't know about my bowling action, but somebody was telling me your action is bad. ICC has allowed me 23.5 because my arm is not good because of an accident, that is why a problem," Ajmal told BBC television after being declared man-of-the-series.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said Ajmal was referring to elbow extension, and not the arm.

"Ajmal was referring to the angle of elbow abduction, ie the angle of the upper arm to the forearm and not the degree of elbow extension. This angle is approximately 23 degrees in Ajmal's case," the PCB said.

"The ICC's level of tolerance of 15 degrees relates to the degree of elbow extension that is permitted in the bowling action, ie the amount by which the arm is straightening."

The PCB said previous tests conducted on the action of Ajmal showed the degree of elbow extension to be well within ICC's tolerance levels.

ICC general manager cricket David Richardson backed the PCB's stance.

"There is a big difference between the elbow carry angle [elbow abduction] and the degree of elbow extension. There is nothing preventing a bowler bowling with a bent arm, provided he does not straighten it beyond the permitted degrees of tolerance," said Richardson.

Ajmal's bowling action, reported by match officials during a one-day series against Australia in Dubai in 2009 before it was cleared after remedial work by experts, once again came under suspicion after his career-best 7-55 in the first test, also played in Dubai.

Former England paceman Bob Willis raised suspicions over his "doosra" (second one) - a ball which turns the other way from a normal off-break.


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