Saeed Ajmal, the world’s best spinner, faces an uncertain future after he was reported by umpires for a suspected illegal bowling action.
The Pakistan off-spinner was called during his team’s Test match against Sri Lanka in Galle, with umpires Ian Gould and Bruce Oxenford standing and Andy Pycroft acting as match referee. He must now undergo testing within three weeks to determine whether he will be allowed to carry on bowling in international cricket.
Ajmal, 36, is a master of the ‘doosra’ – the ball that spins away from the right-handed batsman – and used it to bamboozle England during the 2012 Test series in the United Arab Emirates, which Pakistan won 3-0.
Yet the delivery caused controversy at the time, with former England captain Bob Willis openly doubting on television whether it was legitimate. It is the second time in his career that Ajmal’s action has been called into question, after he was reported following a one-day international against Australia in April 2009.
England are due to face Pakistan and Ajmal next autumn on another tour of the United Arab Emirates. Ajmal has also been cited by Moeen Ali, the new star of English cricket, as a key influence in his development as a spin bowler. The pair play county cricket together for Worcestershire.
Ajmal bowled nearly 66 overs in the first this Test against Sri Lanka, taking five for 195 in the match.
An ICC statement read: "The match officials’ report, which was handed over to Pakistan team manager Moin Khan on Sunday, cited concerns over a number of deliveries that were considered to be suspect and concluded that the bowler’s action needed to be tested.
"Ajmal’s bowling action will now be scrutinised further under the ICC process relating to suspected illegal bowling actions reported in Tests, ODIs and T20Is."