Saeed Ajmal could yet make an appearance at the ICC Cricket World Cup after the off-spinner's remodelled action was found to be legal by official re-testing in Chennai.
The International Cricket Council today confirmed Ajmal and Bangladesh off-spinner Sohag Gazi had both been cleared to resume bowling in international cricket immediately, with all deliveries tested within the 15-degree level of elbow extension permitted.
Ajmal had failed to get his action within limits at some unofficial testing in Karachi last year and as such was omitted from Pakistan's World Cup plans. Teams are not permitted to make a change to their nominated squad unless there is an injury, and then any change has to be approved by the ICC's technical committee.
Pakistan only yesterday replaced paceman Junaid Khan in their World Cup squad after the quick failed fitness tests on a thigh injury picked up in training in Lahore in January.
Junaid was replaced by Rahat Ali in a suprise move. The 26-year-old Ali played his only one-day international against Sri Lanka in June 2012. A left-armer, he was a member of Pakistan's squad for their Tests in the UAE late last year, taking four wickets in two matches against Australia and 11 wickets in three Tests against New Zealand.
Ajmal's testing was completed at the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai on January 24, but reports from Pakistan media suggest the team has opted to avoid the disruption the reintroduction of their remodelled star off-spinner would bring so close to the World Cup.
Respected Pakistan newspaper Dawn quoted an anonymous team official who said "We don’t need Ajmal even if he gets cleared by the ICC for his bowling action."
The report said the stance of team management was at odds with the Pakistan Cricket Board, who were keen for Ajmal to be included.
"The PCB expects the report of ajmal at any time, but now it does not matter whether it is positive or negative as the team management has decided to play the World Cup without Ajmal, believing the team does not need him," the official was reported as saying by Dawn.
Umpires have been provided with updated images and video footage of both Ajmal's and Gazi's new actions, which a statement from the ICC described as "significantly remodelled legal bowling actions".
Working with Saeed Ajmal over the pass months has been a challenge but rewarding. Congratulation on passing the test. pic.twitter.com/lBch0kn0TQ— Saqlain Mushtaq (@Saqlain_Mushtaq) February 7, 2015
Both bowlers were tested at the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai on 24 January, and umpires are free to report them again if they suspect any reversion to an illegal bowling action in future.
Ajmal was reported after the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle in August. Gazi was also reported in August after a one-day international against West Indies in Grenada.
Both bowlers failed their initial tests after being reported for an illegal action, with Ajmal travelling to Brisbane where he was tested at the Bupa National Cricket Centre.
Pakistan allrounder Mohammed Hafeez was due to have his action re-tested in Brisbane on Friday, but the test was delayed with the bowler suffering a foot injury.