KARACHI: Top-ranked Pakistani off-spinner Saeed Ajmal was on Tuesday suspended indefinitely from international cricket for an illegal bowling action but vowed to return in time for next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) banned the 36-year-old after biomechanic tests revealed all his deliveries breached the permissible limit for straightening of the elbow joint.
The world’s leading One-day International bowler blamed the ICC ruling on his “not usual” right elbow and said he would appeal.
Speaking to reporters in his home city of Faisalabad shortly after the announcement, he shrugged off the ICC announcement as “not an issue”.
But the ban could cause serious problems for Pakistan, firstly in their upcoming series with Australia and also in the World Cup, which they won in 1992.
It comes as part of an ICC crackdown on illegal bowling actions — where the arm is bent more than 15 degrees — in international cricket.
“I am still positive, and can make it to the World Cup. They [ICC] have not yet considered my medical reports, and once they do it I am sure there should be no problems,” said Ajmal, who was cleared on medical grounds when his action was first reported in 2009.
“My elbow is not usual, so that’s why it seems that I bend it more than normal 15 degree allowed and if someone has a medical problem he can’t do much about it.
“It is very disappointing to know the results of the tests but I am a fighter and I know what I have to do to get back into international cricket.
“We will go into appeal soon... I will be in action in the World Cup next year, that’s my resolve,” he added.
Ajmal, who turns 37 next month, said he was also open to approaching former players to help him correct his action. “Playing in the World Cup and doing well for Pakistan is a dream for me and I am not going to give up on that,” said Ajmal.
Ajmal has about five months to correct his action and appeal for a reassessment in order to play in the World Cup.
The ICC said Ajmal had been suspended with immediate effect following tests by an ICC-accredited team of human movement specialists at Australia’s National Cricket Centre in Brisbane.
Ajmal was reported for a suspect action after last month’s first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.