Islamabad: The Pakistan Cricket Board has retracted its decision to file an appeal for Saeed Ajmal, who believes he can overturn his suspension for an illegal bowling action on medical grounds.
Ajmal was suspended by the International Cricket Council on Tuesday, and soon after, 80-year-old PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said in Lahore they will file an appeal. But within hours again, Khan backed down on the appeal.
Instead, he issued a statement that the issue will now be referred to its own illegal bowling review committee. (Full ICC Statement on the suspension)
The committee's recommendations will be considered before the board makes its next move, Khan said. ('Pakistan bowling is finished without Ajmal')
Analysis of Ajmal's action in the first test loss to Sri Lanka in Galle from Aug. 6-10 revealed "all his deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance," the ICC said.
But Ajmal was optimistic about an appeal, saying the ICC had not yet considered medical reports in which there's a bend in his arm. He did not elaborate.
"I am still positive, and can make it to the World Cup," Ajmal told private television channel ARY News.
"They (ICC) have not yet considered my medical reports, and once they do it I am sure there should be no problems. There's a bend in my arm, and if someone has a medical problem he can't do much about it."
Ajmal's offspin was analyzed by an ICC-accredited team of human movement specialists using the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane on Aug. 25. He was reported after the first test, where he was Pakistan's best bowler with match figures of 65.1-8-195-5. He took four wickets in the second test defeat but missed the first two ODIs to carry out the tests in Australia.
His suspension is a serious blow to Pakistan's plans for the World Cup next year, as the 36-year-old has taken 183 wickets in 111 ODIs, along with 178 wickets in 35 tests.
According to ICC regulations, a suspended bowler can continue to play in domestic cricket under the supervision of the home board, and can apply for a reassessment after he modifies his action.
Khan said there were at least 35 bowlers — mostly offspinners — in Pakistan's domestic cricket whose bowling actions were suspected.
"We have decided to make a committee to assess bowling actions of all these suspect bowlers so that this problem is sorted out once and for all."
Ajmal was previously reported for his doosra in 2009 during a one-day series against Australia in the United Arab Emirates and cleared all the tests.
In May, England fast bowler Stuart Broad questioned Ajmal's bowling action, and said the offspinner used different actions on the field and during testing.
Khan ruled out any conspiracy against Ajmal to bar him from playing.
"It's not only against Pakistan," Khan said. "There are lots of other bowlers from countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the West Indies, who were reported in the recent past, and now the ICC is strict on this."
Former Pakistan captain and coach Javed Miandad wants Ajmal to consult retired Sri Lanka great Muttiah Muralitharan, who also had his action reported when he played.
Miandad said Ajmal should forget about reworking his bowling action in Pakistan, and should go to Australia to fix it.
"Ajmal has played enough international cricket and he knows what he needs to work on, he's the boss of himself, and just needs proper guidance," Miandad said.
"I don't think there are people in the Pakistan Cricket Board who could assist him because there's a fleet of coaches with the team, and even then Ajmal has been reported."
Mushtaq Ahmed was the team's spin bowling consultant.
Another former captain, Rashid Latif, said Ajmal's suspension was a major setback for Pakistan as there was a lack of quality spinners in reserve.
"The sad part is that we haven't tried any other specialist offspinner in international matches, and now our World Cup plans are severely dented," Latif told The Associated Press.
"(Pakistan) bowling is finished without Ajmal. I had doubts for the last few months ... because the way he bowls, it's hard to get away with in test matches."
Latif doubts there will be enough time for Ajmal to moderate his action, have new tests, and be cleared by the ICC before the start of the World Cup in February.
Pakistan is scheduled to play Australia and New Zealand in the UAE over the next four months. The Emirates has been a happy hunting ground for Ajmal, with 67 wickets in 12 tests.
"We will try to bring a replacement (for Ajmal)," Khan said. "It's not easy because he is our match-winner."