Premier Pakistani off spinner Saeed Ajmal is currently banned from bowling, as his arm was found to flex more than the allowed 15 degrees. How much more?
As per the report, during the tests Ajmal’s average elbow extension stood at 37 to 39 degrees for offspin delivered over the wicket, 41 to 42 degrees for offspin bowled around the wicket, 40 degrees for the doosra, 38 degrees for quicker ones around the wicket and 42 degrees for quicker balls over the wicket.
That’s absolutely astounding.
Are we to understand, then, that during all these years of bowling, no one that saw Ajmal closely could point out to him that all his deliveries were illegal? At international level this is still understandable, as Ajmal regularly bowls with full sleeves on, thus making it difficult to judge how much exactly his arms are flexing. But I’m sure he doesn’t do all his practice bowling at the nets with full sleeves on. No one saw fit to let him know? There’s no way anyone can miss a 42 degree flex.
In fact, among all the hoopla about the 15 degree flex rule, people forget that the whole point of having that rule is so that people can tell by their naked eye that the arm is flexing. After a few apparently “correct” bowlers were tested, they were found to have a little flex in their arms as well, but it was small enough that the naked eye thought that the arm was straight. I actually like that rule, which in essence says, “if your naked eye consistently thinks that a bowler is fine, he’s probably fine”.
There’s no way anyone can miss a 37-42 degree flex on all deliveries bowled. At the least, that’s shameful of the people that surround Ajmal, who didn’t think it important enough to point this out to him. At worst, they did point it out to him, and he, and they, chose to try to “game” the rule by taking refuge in the “15 degree” ambiguity. This second part I find incredibly hard to believe, though, and so unless information to the contrary appears, I’ll criticize severely the people who provide inputs to Ajmal’s bowling. They failed him.
Choose a better training team, Ajmal, for your own continued success. Pakistan has sought out Saqlain Mushtaq for help, who I think is an excellent choice. Good Luck, and hopefully you’ll be back getting bagfuls of wickets soon. Just not against India, please.
I feel like this post from last year is more relevant after India’s disastrous Test series against England:
Back this Indian team, cricket fans.
They’ll lose for a bit, but they’ll build character as they do. They’ll learn to win, in time, just as the previous generation did, but meanwhile, let’s back them to the hilt.
Instead of a disaster last year, we got the disaster this year. Although, that’s not all of it, by far. I can understand the outside edges, and even perhaps the uncertainty outside the off stump. They didn’t dare leave balls they’d otherwise leave, thinking that the odd one might come in on the bounce. That, I can chalk up to inexperience.
But the slip catching? The across-the-line swipes? The nick when trying to leave the ball and get the bat out of the way?! Those were inexcusable. They’re young; they’re new; they’ll learn. But they didn’t fight. Except Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, they didn’t fight. And that’s a pity, and that’s the reason to be mad and upset.
Torrid time for Virat Kohli, though. I don’t think it would have mattered if he was batting in his back yard—he’d still nick the ball, the kind of form he’s in. Hang in there, Virat—people more experienced than you have suffered the same, and worse.
And the rest (those not playing the ODIs)—go back home and find your off stump. And practice some slip catching!