Stuart Broad may need to shortly answer to the England and Wales Cricket Board with regards to a tweet that he posted about Saaed Ajmal’s bowling action.
The Worcestershire spinner is Pakistan’s leading wicket taker in both Test and ODI cricket, claiming 169 and 182 dismissals in each format respectively. However, he has come in for criticism over the matter of his technique and the angle of his bowling arm.
The whole saga began with Michael Vaughan posting a picture of the spinner in action during a first-class county fixture. That encouraged Broad to get involved in the debate, although his comments have apparently caused offence towards the Pakistan international.
England’s limited-overs captain replied to Vaughan’s initial post by tweeting: "This has to be a fake photo?!"
Broad then furthered his input by adding: "Bowlers can bowl very differently in a lab while being tested compared to needing wickets in the middle."
These comments have reportedly angered Ajmal. Consequently, the Pakistan Cricket Board are looking into the matter, and have contacted the ECB over the issue.
The 36-year-old’s action has been brought into question in the past, but these recent accusations are made not long after Ajmal recorded his career best figures of 7-19 for Worcestershire against Essex.
Speaking to Pakpassion.net, the spinner revealed his viewpoint of the whole controversy: "Broad's dig hurt me the most.
“Former players will sit in the commentary box or wherever else and say some things for attention but you don't expect such things from a fellow professional cricketer who is still playing cricket.”
By that admission, it seems as though the spinner can understand the criticism directed by Vaughan, but he has taken exception to a comment made by someone who he could still conceivably share a popping crease with.
Bowling actions are always a hot topic of debate in cricket, especially with regards to benefactors of spin. Muttiah Muralitharan’s bowling technique was one that divided opinions throughout the entirety of his international career.
Ajmal has had his action cleared by the ICC in the past, which makes it seem unlikely that they would look into the matter further and sanction him retrospectively.
The last time England and Pakistan met in the Test arena was at the beginning of 2012. Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi hosted the three-match series, which Pakistan won with a whitewash.
Spin was a key weapon in those matches, and Ajmal took an astonishing 24 wickets in just three Tests.
Meanwhile, this isn’t the first time that Stuart Broad’s touch-typing fingers have got him into trouble with cricketing authorities. Past spats with the likes of Sir Ian Botham and Andy Murray via social media have painted the Nottinghamshire man in a poor light.
The Twittersphere has hosted many debates by leading England cricketers, who occasionally use Twitter as a means to air grievances. England exile, Kevin Pietersen has utilised the platform to direct criticism at Matt Prior.
Depending on how the ECB react to this latest episode, cricketers may have restricted freedom over what they can post online in the future.
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