England v Pakistan Tests

Ajmal's warning for slow bowlers

Pakistani spinner calls for 'concessions' for spinners to level playing field in game 'designed for batsmen'

Cricket Network

22 May 2016, 02:01 AM

Pakistan bowler Saeed Ajmal has warned "the art of spin bowling is dying" unless something is done to level the playing field for slow bowlers.

Ajmal had been the world's No.1 ODI bowler when he was banned for bowling with an illegal action in September 2014 and was the highest-profile scalp in a concerted effort to target illegal action.

He remodelled his action and was cleared to return in February 2015, but did not win selection for Pakistan's World Cup campaign as he struggled to rediscover his previous wicket-taking prowess. He last played for Pakistan more than 12 months ago.

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He was overlooked for Pakistan's training camp ahead of their England tour next month, but still holds out hope of returning to the international fold.

"It feels like I'm starting my career again. Honestly it's felt like I was back at school learning how to bowl again," Ajmal told pakpassion.net.

"I've had to redevelop my bowling and re-invent myself as a cricketer. It's been a long, tough road but I'm happy with where I am at the moment and I'm pleased with my form."

But the 38-year-old from Faisalabad claimed slow bowlers should be given concessions – which could include a relaxing of the law on 'chucking' – to level the playing field between batsmen and spin bowlers.

"Modern day cricket has become a game that has been designed for batsmen," Ajmal said.

"Spinners are penalised for their bowling actions but look at the size of cricket bats these days, they are like tree trunks. Also look at the power-play rules and the relevant field-settings.

"Fast bowlers have been given two bouncers an over, but what concessions have the spinners been given? I'll tell you what they've been given – nothing apart from more suspicion and scrutiny.

"The art of off-spin is dying (and) the number of off-spinners around the world is dwindling."

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Ajmal was tested at Cricket Australia's Bupa National Cricket Centre in Brisbane after being reported during a Test match in Sri Lanka. The testing, under ICC-approved guidelines, found Ajmal straightened his elbow up to 43 degrees – significantly above the legal limit of 15 degrees.

Out of reckoning for national selection, Ajmal welcomed the appointment of Mickey Arthur and said the architect of Australia's 'homework-gate' scandal was the right choice to impose much-needed discipline on his former teammates.

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"Discipline is a must. There must be no compromise when it comes to discipline in Pakistan cricket and this is perhaps an area where we have let ourselves down in the past," Ajmal said.

"Some of our boys have lacked discipline on and off the field and this has meant that they have underachieved so far in their careers.  Those boys need to take a look at themselves and think about what they want to achieve from cricket, before it's too late for them.

"There is no point having talent if you have no discipline. Some Pakistan players need someone behind them with a stick to get them to work and hopefully Mickey Arthur is that man."