Saeed Ajmal had delivered 18887 balls in his 2251-day long international career before he was banned for an illegal action. Forced to undertake remedial work, Ajmal has been rigorously practising bowling with a straight elbow to get his arm used to it, and by his own admission, has repeated a drill around 7000 times in the last three weeks.
ESPNcricinfo observed the drill at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore where Ajmal has been working with Saqlain Mushtaq to remodel his action. Bowling with a slightly side-on action, Ajmal rolls his arm over but does not release the ball. The idea is to swing his arm and reduce the flexion of the elbow. The routine has been followed for two sessions every day, with two cameras recording the movements from the front and the back and a speed gun installed to measure his arm speed.
Ajmal is likely to continue working at the NCA with Saqlain for the next three weeks before he is sent to England for an independent bio-mechanical assessment and further remedial work. Based on the results, Ajmal can apply to the ICC for a reassessment. Although the ICC ban does not stop Ajmal from bowling in domestic cricket, the bowler had skipped the start of the season to focus on reworking his action.
Ajmal was reported after the first Test of Pakistan’s tour of Sri Lanka in Galle this August. The subsequent testing of his action at an ICC-accredited facility at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane found his average elbow extension was more than twice the permissible limit.