Ajmal withdrawn from World Cup squad: PCB

KARACHI: Suspended off-spinner Saeed Ajmal was withdrawn from Pakistan’s World Cup squad on Saturday after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided he needed more time to remodel his bowling action.

According to the PCB chairman Shahryar Khan, Ajmal took the decision to pull out from World Cup contention himself.

“Ajmal withdrew himself,” Khan told reporters.

“We didn’t want to take a risk with Ajmal’s career because latest reports suggested his elbow extension was not still within the 15 degrees allowed by the ICC despite all the remedial work on his action.

“We were aware that if he took the official ICC test in a bid to make the World Cup squad and failed it he could be suspended from playing for one to two years and that would mean the end of his career,” Khan said.

The 37-year-old was suspended from all international cricket after his bowling action was found illegal in a bio-mechanical test in September.

The PCB earlier this month requested the International Cricket Council (ICC) to have Ajmal’s action reassessed but had to delay that after his unofficial tests revealed he still needed remodelling.

Ajmal has been remodelling his action with the help of former Pakistan off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq.

Under the ICC rules all bowlers are allowed to flex their elbow by 15 degrees but Ajmal’s tests revealed his elbow flexed by 43 degree.

Pakistan also faces race against time to get all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez cleared after his action was reported as suspect last month.

He was subsequently suspended earlier this month.

A PCB meeting on Saturday decided Hafeez will proceed to Chennai, India to have an unofficial test while Ajmal will do more remodelling work in Lahore.

“The PCB committee discussed the future course of action to be adopted with regard to Ajmal and Hafeez and agreed that in the case of Ajmal, further remedial work should continue in collaboration with Saqlain and a bio mechanist in Lahore,” a PCB release said.

All 14 teams have to announce their final 15-man squad by January 7 next year.

“The group was informed that significant progress had been made by Ajmal who is now working on completing his ‘mileage’ with the remodelled action which shall soon be accomplished,” said PCB.

The PCB fully supports Ajmal in his attempt to regularize his action and to return to cricket as Pakistan’s top performer in the future, the release added.

“It was noted that Saqlain and Mushtaq Ahmed (Pakistan’s spin bowling coach) have both worked with Hafeez and his action should now be unofficially tested in Chennai next week,” said the PCB.

If Hafeez clears the unofficial tests then the PCB will apply for his official reassessment with the ICC.

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