Karachi: Top-ranked Pakistani off-spinner Saeed Ajmal was suspended indefinitely from international cricket for an illegal bowling action yesterday but he vowed to return in time for next year's World Cup.
The world's leading one-day international bowler blamed the International Cricket Council (ICC) ruling on his "not usual" right elbow and said he would appeal.
Ajmal, speaking to reporters in his home city of Faisalabad shortly after the announcement, shrugged off the ICC announcement as "not an issue."
But the ban could cause serious problems for Pakistan, firstly in their upcoming series with Australia and also in the World Cup, which they won in 1992. It comes as part of a crackdown on illegal bowling actions — where the arm is bent more than 15 degrees — in international cricket by the ICC.
"My elbow is not usual so that's why it seems that I bend it more than the normal 15 degree allowed," said Ajmal, who was cleared on medical grounds when his action was first reported in 2009.
"We will go into appeal soon... I will be in action in the World Cup next year, that's my resolve," he added.
The ICC earlier said Ajmal, 36, had been suspended with immediate effect following tests by specialists carried out at Australia's National Cricket Centre in Brisbane. Ajmal was reported for a suspect action after last month's first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.
"The analysis revealed that all his deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted under the regulations," the ICC said in a statement.
Ajmal is Pakistan's key bowler, with 178 wickets in 35 Tests and 183 in 111 ODIs. He is also the leading wicket-taker in all Twenty20 matches with 85 in 63 matches.
Remedial work at Perth
He will now undergo remedial work on his bowling action in the Western Australian University at Perth, where human movement expert Daryl Foster will work on his action.
The ICC said Ajmal can be tested again once the remedial work report is satisfactory. Even if he is cleared, he faces a ban of 12 months if he is reported again within two years.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said it was a "big jolt" to lose a player with a total of more than 350 Test and one-day wickets.
"It's a big jolt for us. It's not easy to replace a player like Ajmal who is a match-winner, and we will appeal against the ICC decision," said a PCB spokesman.
Ajmal, who turns 37 next month, started his career as late as 2008 after being spotted in Pakistani domestic cricket.
The number of Pakistanis reported for suspect actions so far. Ajmal joins Shabbir Ahmed, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohd Hafeez, Shahid Afridi, Riaz Afridi and Shoaib Malik
Did you know?
All the bowlers reported for suspect action this year have been off-spinners
New Delhi: The pioneer of 'doosra' Saqlain Mushtaq yesterday came out in support of Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, who has been suspended from bowling international cricket by the ICC after his action was deemed illegal by parent body's expert panel.
Saqlain took to twitter offering his help for the troubled spinner.
"I will help and support saeed ajmal to the best of my ability if required," Saqlain wrote.
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