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Veteran Spinners Divided On Legality Of Ajmal's Bowling Action

PTI [ Updated 11 Feb 2012, 18:12:09 ]
Veteran Spinners Divided On Legality Of Ajmal's Bowling Action

New Delhi, Feb 11: Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal’s controversial bowling action has sparked off a heated debate with some Indian greats calling him an “outright chucker” but their counterparts across the border have backed him to the hilt.

While former spinners like Bishan Singh Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna and Maninder Singh have questioned the legality of his action, Pakistani players like Abdul Qadir and Saqlain Mushtaq and senior Indian offspinner Harbhajan Singh have been supportive of the 34-year-old who bamboozled English batsmen in a three-match Test series taking 24 wickets. Bedi feels that it is the ICC which has created this “monster”.

“How can you continue with this nonsense? One should put an end to this farce. It’s ICC’s prerogative to react. Saeed Ajmal’s is case of blatant chucking. If you look at the way he is bowling, he doesn’t need a run-up to bowl. He can stand and simply throw the ball just like you play darts,” Bedi told PTI.

“You have allowed someone like Muttiah Muralitharan and that’s where the problem started. Can anyone with naked eye be able to conclude whether the arm is bending at less or more than 15 degrees. You need to trust the human eye and let’s be honest a chucker can be identified from a mile,” Bedi fumed.

“It’s admirable that ICC is trying hard to curb the menace of match-fixing but they aren’t doing anything to curb the menace of chucking. When you try to detect whether a match is fixed or not, it’s not easy but chucking is something that’s happening right under your nose.” Prasanna too blamed it on the ICC and said the governing body should take note.

“His action is certainly a problem but then the ICC has allowed him to bowl. As far as we know, bending the elbow more than 15 degrees is not permissable in the ICC rules. But this fellow himself said that he has been allowed a 23 degree bend,” Prasanna said.

“Now my question is what the ICC committee which looks after the legality of the bowling action is doing? I believe, there should be stringent rules as far as the bowling action is concerned and umpires should be taken into confidence. The ICC has said there is no problem. If the parent body thinks like that, then one can hardly do anything,” Prasanna said.

The ICC had tested Ajmal’s action in 2009 and it was cleared by the human movement experts at the University of Western Australia. It was found that Ajmal bowls with a bend of 23.5 degrees before releasing the ball and then flexes it to around 15.5 degrees which means the actual “jerk” is around eight degrees—within the limits of 15 degrees set by the ICC.

Maninder Singh called Ajmal a chucker and criticised the ICC for ignoring the issue.

“He is an outright chucker and should not be allowed to take the field,” Maninder said.

“He has been allowed by ICC to bend his arm upto 23.5 degrees, but I am sure that he is bending his arm more than 30 degrees and with that action he can not only bowl a ‘teesra’ but he can also produce a ‘chautha’,” he said.

“ICC has never been serious about this chucking non-sense. Did they ever tried to form a committee, comprising retired umpires like Dickie Bird, to tell them what is right and what is wrong. They have been just giving away special allowances, which is utter non-sense,” he added. But Ajmal got some support from his Indian counterpart Harbhajan Singh.

“From whatever little I have seen of Ajmal, he is a brilliant bowler and he has an amazing skill set. It is very difficult to pick his doosra and that makes him a lethal bowler. Also, he bowls a straighter one well and his off break is also effective,” he said.