Ajmal withdraws from World Cup, won’t risk test

2015 World Cup

Pakistan will definitely be without spinner Saeed Ajmal at the World Cup in Australasia in February, after he withdrew from the competition in order to further correct his illegal bowling action.

Ajmal was banned in September for chucking, his elbow flex more than double the 15 degrees allowed, and while he had been confident a few weeks ago, the PCB have opted not to risk it. If he had been tested officially, he would have failed, they said.

Ajmal was supposed to be tested again on 8 December, but the PCB asked for it to be postponed. Now they have delayed it indefinitely, because failing would mean at least a year-long ban. Mohammad Hafeez, meanwhile, will have an unofficial test in Chennai soon.

Shaharyar Khan, the PCB chairman, told Reuters: "Ajmal withdrew himself. 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."

The PCB added in a statement that Hafeez and Ajmal would continue working with Saqlain Mushtaq, who was originally only meant to work with Ajmal for a few weeks, and this has stretched to months.

It read: "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.

"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.

"It was noted that Saqlain and Mushtaq Ahmed (Pakistan spin bowling coach) have both worked with Hafeez and his action should now be unofficially tested in Chennai next week."