LONDON - A second unofficial test at Loughborough University has found Saeed Ajmal's action for his stock delivery, the offspinner, and his faster balls to be legal. His action for the doosra, however, is still not below the 15-degree limit. Pakistan's National Cricket Academy head coach Mohammad Akram confirmed the news to ESPNcricinfo.
Ajmal will now undergo a third unofficial test, before returning to domestic cricket in Pakistan if cleared to bowl these two deliveries again. Once he gets enough bowling time there, the PCB will apply for him to be officially reassessed by the ICC.
"He worked so hard to reduce the flex," Akram told ESPNcricinfo. "The latest test in the biomechanics lab on Monday revealed that he has started bowling within the ICC's 15-degree limit. His conventional offspin and faster deliveries are very well bowled within the limit now, that's the good news."
Ajmal's average elbow extension was found to be more than twice the permissible limit of 15 degrees, going up to 42 degrees on average in the official tests conducted before he was suspended from bowling in September. Following that, Ajmal underwent extensive remedial work over six weeks, but had still not fallen under the 15-dregree limit when he first underwent an unofficial test at Loughborough University earlier this month. Akram said Ajmal's medical history and several cricket injuries have been hindering his bowling action. It is understood that the PCB had maintained Ajmal had a medical condition following an accident which affected the movement of his elbow when he was previously reported in 2009, and that had been accepted by the ICC when his action was cleared then.
"There is no doubt that he is a true fighter. He, despite his medical history, has achieved a significant result in reducing the flex in his elbow. But at the same time I would like to request ICC to give him a benefit of doubt as his chronic injuries forced him to bowl [differently], with the wrist collapsing and shoulder dislocating. This is something which is exceptional in his case."
Akram said the new testing methods were very stringent, but the PCB fully supported the ICC's stance. "It very hard to clear tests under the ICC's new protocols, with 3D software. Some of the very clean-looking actions via the naked eye can be questioned. There should be a benefit of doubt in testing protocol, and consideration for the exceptional cases. But PCB has been working extensively to weed out the illegal bowling actions from the domestic circuit. We have already cracked down on all bowlers with suspect action and are presently working with them on their actions. We always stand with the ICC and support the no-tolerance approach in dealing with suspected illegal bowling actions."