Pakistan launches crackdown on suspect bowlers, suspends 16 domestic cricketers

Karachi: Pakistan on Thursday suspended 16 domestic bowlers with suspect actions, a senior official said, in a major crackdown against chucking following the ban of ace spinner Saeed Ajmal. Ajmal was suspended earlier this month after he was found to straighten his elbow up to 43 degrees, well above the prescribed limit of 15.

Shoaib Malik, Shoaib Akhtar, Saeed Ajmal

The ban jolted the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) into action to avoid further international embarrassment. "We have 29 bowlers reported for suspect bowling actions in the current home cricket season and half of them were reported twice, so we have banned around 16 from domestic matches," director of domestic cricket Inthikab Alam told reporters.

"All these bowlers will not be allowed to play in domestic matches and will go to the national cricket academy to get their actions altered," said Alam, a former Pakistan captain and leg-spinner.

To deal with the problem, the PCB has revived its biomechanics laboratory in Lahore this month after it was left inoperational for seven years over allegations of financial irregularities in buying its machinery. Ajmal was the seventh Pakistani reported for suspect actions in international matches, joining Shahid Afridi, Shabbir Ahmed, Mohammad Hafeez, Riaz Afridi, Shoaib Malik and Shoaib Akhtar.

Even the two spinners called up to replace Ajmal while he undergoes remedial work -- Atif Maqbool and Adnan Rasool -- have been reported. Under the ICC rules bowlers are permitted to straighten their bowling arm up to 15 degrees, which has been established as the point at which any straightening will become visible to the naked eye. Speaking separately, Captain Misbah-ul Haq said he was "praying" for Ajmal, who is ranked the world's best one-day bowler, to return soon. "First of all I will pray Ajmal returns to the team for the World Cup," he said.

Australia and New Zealand co-host the mega event from February 14 to March 29. "But we also have to be ready to play without him. If a player is not there you have to cope with that situation. There is no doubt he is a great bowler and will be missed."

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