Pakistan’s ace spinner Saeed Ajmal has brought the curtains down on his cricket career with a “heavy heart”, criticising the ICC’s protocol to assess bowling actions on his way out.
After a successful but controversial career, off-spinner Ajmal finished with 178 wickets in 35 Tests, the last of which was at Galle in Sri Lanka in 2014, where his bowling action was reported for a second time.
His action was first reported during an ODI series against Australia in the UAE in 2009.
His time in the limelight cut short following a temporary ban for chucking, Ajmal returned to the sport in 2015 with a re-modelled action but without much success.
“I am retiring and at 40 years of age I thought it is now time for me to make way for younger players. I got this feeling I was being considered extra baggage even in domestic teams and I didn’t want to go out losing my respect,” Ajmal told PTI.
“I am retiring with a heavy heart because firstly I think the ICC’s protocol is too harsh and if all bowlers today playing international cricket are tested I am sure at least 90 percent will fail to clear this protocol,” Ajmal said.
He felt that if the Pakistan Cricket Board had fought his case more vociferously at the ICC, he would have left a satisfied man.
“The board did support me after my bowling action was declared illegal but I think they could have done more at least using my case to challenge this protocol at the ICC level,” he added.
Asked what issues he had with the ICC protocol, Ajmal said it didn’t take into account the fact that some bowlers had natural medical issues with their arm while some may have developed problems after some accident.
“To be honest if you talk about the current extension of the elbow allowed I don’t think many of the current bowlers meet the ICC standards all the time. Some relaxation has to be allowed on medical grounds.”