Mirpur: Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal`s bowling action generated a fresh controversy today after senior Indian players reportedly questioned the legality of his deliveries even as the ICC defended the Pakistani bowler, saying his action was well within "the allowed degree of tolerance".
Almost two months after English players had raised concerns about Ajmal`s action, it is now the Indians who have raked up the issue after their sensational Asia Cup triumph over Pakistan on Sunday.
According to media reports, some Indian seniors have raised questions about the legality of Ajmal`s `doosra`. Ajmal had scalped the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar and had returned with figures of 9-0-49-1 in the high-voltage match against India.
BCCI officials, however, did not confirm whether the team had raised objections over Ajmal`s action. It is also not known whether the Indian Board is planning to lodge a formal complaint.
Television channels showed visuals of Indian coach Duncan Fletcher imitating Ajmal`s action in bowling the `doosra` in the dressing room and discussing with the players. But the ICC sought to put a lid to the controversy and said there was nothing wrong with the spinner`s action.
"We do whatever protocol allows us to do and let us not forget that the match officials, the umpires are entitled to call any bowler, who has got a suspect action," said the ICC CEO, Haroon Lorgat.
"In Saeed Ajmal`s case we have tested him, we have monitored him even in the live situations, he bowls within the allowed degree of tolerance. So there isn`t any issue with him," Lorgat said. Lorgat said there is always a difference between what we see and what we perceive.
"We need to be careful about what the eye sees and what the reality is. You are allowed to bowl with an arm that you don`t straighten in the course of action and he is well within the degrees of tolerance", he said.
The PCB also sprung to Ajmal`s defence saying there was no need to react as the ICC had cleared the bowler. The PCB said it was for the on-field umpires and the Match Referee to report on illegal bowling actions. Former Pakistan captain Rameez Raja, who is a here as a commentator, also found nothing wrong with Ajmal`s action.
"The rules are so anti off-spinners that the bowlers have to evolve to exist. I think there is no issue with the bowling. I like a bit of unorthodoxy. This art has been redefined. It enhances the bowling and you cannot cage in the talent," Raja said.
"It`s absolutely fine. He does not bowl the conventional doosra like that of Muttiah Muralitharan. It`s 50-50, It`s 50 percent palm and 50 percent wrist. And that`s why the Indian and other batsmen could not pick him. England also made a lot of hue and cry. But they moved ahead and Indians also need to move ahead," Raja said. Raja said the controversy will add some heat if India and Pakistan clash in the final of the Asia Cup.
"It will add little bit of spark in the Pakistan camp. They will not settle well with this easily. They will get around Ajmal. I think the Indians need to take it out of equation," Raja said.
The 34-year-old Ajmal has been in the midst of a controversy over his action, and just before the Asia Cup the English cricketers had also raised their concern about the bowler.
He later claimed that he had a special dispensation from the game`s governing body to straighten his arm beyond the allowed 15 degrees.
Ajmal, during an interview to an English media house, after Pakistan`s 3-0 Test win over England in the UAE, had claimed, "ICC has allowed me 23.5 because my arm is not good because of an accident, that is why a problem."
The comments raised some sparks in India as well with former Indian captain Bishan Singh Bedi calling Ajmal an "outright chucker".