Is Saeed Ajmal bending the rules?

We've heard the allegations, but is Ajmal REALLY bending the rules

Bending the rules Saeed Ajmal

Bending the rules Saeed Ajmal

Analysis of television pictures appear to show Saeed Ajmal’s right arm bending beyond the legal limit when he delivers the doosra. TV footage can be very deceptive – and Ajmal’s technique has been cleared by the ICC – but laws state a bowler’s arm is allowed to flex only 15 from the moment the hand goes above the shoulder.

WHAT IS A CHUCK

ICC Laws 24.2 and 24.3 state that for a delivery to be legal the ball must not be thrown. Once the bowler’s arm has reached the level of the shoulder in the delivery swing, the elbow joint cannot be straightened from that point until the ball has left the hand. This does not, however, prevent a bowler from flexing or rotating his wrist in the delivery swing.

WHAT IS THIS 15-DEGREE RULE

The decision to allow a flex in the arm up to 15 was introduced after a panel of biomechanic experts found the majority of bowlers had a minor flex in their actions. Before the change, the ICC had allocated 10 for fast bowlers, 7.5 for medium pacers and 5 for spin bowlers – which effectively meant that all bowlers were exceeding the stipulated limits.

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WHY CHANGE THE LAW

Because the study revealed that it was humanly impossible to bowl with a straight arm and that all bowlers breached the laws. The study uncovered that a bowler’s arm flexes laterally by nature. The human eye can only detect a throw if the bowler exceeds the 15-degree mark – anything less is not detectable to the naked eye.

SO, AJMAL’S ACTION IS CLEAN

The ICC cleared it, but the ICC’s Panel of Human Movement Specialists’ tests are not without their flaws. During testing, for instance, it is possible for the subject bowler to limit the movement of his arm (ie not to give it as much of a tweak as he would in a match in order to be within the 15-degree limit).

Cleared: Ajmal underwent stringent testing in 2009

Cleared: Ajmal underwent stringent testing in 2009

AJMAL'S FILE

April 2009: Ajmal’s doosra is reported by umpires during the second ODI against Australia in Dubai. Ramiz Raja and Geoff Boycott both urge the ICC to legalise the doosra.

May 2009: Independent tests – conducted by the ICC Panel of Human Movement Specialists and involving 3D motion technology and a 12-camera system – reveal the amount of elbow extension during the doosra delivery is within the limit.

August 2009: Ajmal exchanges doosra tips with another controversial bowler Murali during a tour of Sri Lanka.

May 2011: After Ajmal is voted man of the series for his 17 wickets in two Tests against West Indies, Sir Viv Richards says: ‘Let me put it as diplomatically as it can be put. The rules have helped the freaky stuff we have seen.’