KARACHI: Pakistan’s suspended off-spinner Saeed Ajmal reported to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) on Monday to undergo remedial work on his bowling action, with retired spin king Saqlain Mushtaq set to join him on September 22.
Until Saqlain’s arrival, Ajmal will be working closely with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Illegal Bowling Action Committee, which consists of Muhammad Akram, Mushtaq Ahmed, Ali Zia, Aleem Dar and Dr Sohail Saleem.
The committee members are keen to mentally prepare him to undergo the change before working with him practically.
“Ajmal has reported to the NCA today [Monday] and we’ll start working with him immediately,” a PCB official told The Express Tribune.
“Obviously we’ll wait for Saqlain as well, but we cannot waste precious time. So for the time being, we’ll try to counsel him about the problem at hand and its possible solutions.”
In another instance, Ajmal’s department ZTBL promoted him to the post of senior vice president. After discussions with the management, the off-spinner immediately announced giving incentives to players.
“I’m thankful to the management for the promotion,” said Ajmal. “We’ll try to introduce better incentives for ZTBL players, while awards will also be given to those giving outstanding performances.”
The bowler added that both he and the Pakistani fans are sad about his suspension, but he is eager to stage a comeback in the near future.
“I’ll make a comeback very soon. Our legend Saqlain is coming to assist me, and he’ll be of great help because we have quite a few things similar in our bowling.”
He further said that he is confident that there are players available in Pakistan who can perform better than him in his absence.
Doosra not illegal, says inventor Saqlain
Saqlain on Monday defended the controversial ‘doosra’ delivery he invented, which has come under renewed scrutiny since Ajmal’s chucking ban last week.
The doosra, which means ‘the second one’ in Urdu, turns from legside to offside — the opposite direction to orthodox off-breaks.
It is bowled from the back of the hand with a lot of top-spin, though the bowler’s wrist still moves in a clockwise direction, making it difficult for a batsman to pick.
Saqlain is credited with its invention, adding to a list of Pakistani innovations in cricket including the batsman’s reverse-sweep and reverse swing bowling.
But the delivery has come to be regarded with deep suspicion by many, particularly in Australia and England, where critics charge that doosra bowlers bend their arm beyond the permissible 15 degree limit.
“Who says doosra is illegal?” asked Saqlain. “It can easily be delivered within the allowed rules. It is not an easy delivery to bowl, but if a bowler becomes an expert, he doesn’t transgress limits.”
“You need to have strong muscles to bowl a doosra, so fitness does matter. Grip, rhythm and follow through are also equally important. If just one of these things is missing, then you are out of limits,” he added.