Saeed Ajmal will be testing his bowling action after it was deemed illegal by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Pakistan are hopeful that the spinner’s suspension will be lifted in time for the World Cup in early 2015.
Difficult to change
Ajmal will firstly undergo tests with Pakistan coaches, before going before an ICC panel. Former bowler Saqlain Mustaq–who has been hired especially on a short-term contract–has been working with the 37-year-old to perfect his technique, but considering his age, it will be all the more difficult for him to change his action.
Ajmal was found to have exceeded the permitted 15 degrees by almost twice.
He is arguably the most high-profile bowler to have been found guilty of ‘chucking’, which the ICC are making unprecedented efforts to clamp down on.
“Once he clears the informal test we will then ask the ICC to test out Ajmal so that he can be cleared before the World Cup.” - Shaharyar Khan
In a statement, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan said: “Ajmal is vital to our chances in the World Cup…we will follow all the permitted routes to get him cleared.”
Countdown to the World Cup
“Once he clears the informal test we will then ask the ICC to test out Ajmal so that he can be cleared before the World Cup.”
Pakistan’s chances at the World Cup are certainly questionable, but they would be boosted no end by Ajmal’s presence in the squad.
They were soundly beaten by Australia in all three matches in the one-day series between the two sides, held in the United Arab Emirates over this summer, and also suffered defeats to Sri Lanka.
It was during the first Test against Sri Lanka that Ajmal was reported.
Without him, who has been their highest wicket-taker across all formats over the past three years – any hopes of progressing very far in the tournament would be extremely slim.
Indeed, though it should not necessarily affect their chances on the pitch, Pakistani cricket is hardly in fine shape.
The ongoing threat of terrorism prevents international cricket being played there, meaning all their fixtures have to be conducted abroad.
Ireland and Afghanistan are reportedly interested in changing that, though the former had a tour cancelled earlier this year after an explosion.
Several Pakistan players have also been fined for failing to keep to the PCB’s strict new standards on fitness.
It is unsurprising that they are clutching at straws ahead of the World Cup, as it appears Ajmal’s fate could end up having a massive impact on their fortunes in 2015.