Saeed Ajmal and the Throwing Controversy

11th September 2014

Quick Singles – news round-up

A few voices of opinion

Much has been said and written this week in response to the news that Saeed Ajmal has been branded a chucker.

Dennis Freedman was one of the first off the blocks, conducting a passionate interview in an emergency edition of his appropriately titled Can’t Bowl, Can’t Throw podcast with Pakistani cricket writer, Ahmer Naqvi.

Dennis previously had this to say about The Art of Chucking back in March.

Martin Crowe on ESPN Cricinfo was fully supportive of the suspension and general clampdown on suspect actions, which he has described as a cancer.

Geoffrey Boycott in his Bowl at Boycs series said today that he believes umpires have become less afraid of reporting dubious bowling actions, and that the system is probably better as an overall process to confront the issue.

In their BBC Radio 5 Live show, Tuffers and Vaughan, Michael Vaughan and Phil Tufnell discussed Ajmal’s suspension:

PT: “It was inevitable. It shows the ICC are trying to crack down on it. But why haven’t first-class umpires called him when he’s been playing for Worcestershire?”

Michael Vaughan observed:

MV: “They’ve clearly had a stampdown. But will the new technology be able to tell us retrospectively if a guy was a chucker?”

Vaughan did feel bowlers should be given a little more leeway, since mystery spin is good for the game. Vaughan said he would make allowance for up to 20%. Ajmal was quoted by Tufnell as being at 23.5%. You can hear them discuss the controversy between 52 minutes and 1 hour 2 minutes in their podcast.

Wasim Akram has blamed Vaughan for Ajmal’s ban, seeing him as the initiator of inquiries into the legitimacy of his bowling action.

The UK’s Daily Telegraph reported that in future bowlers under suspicion may be forced to wear technology in match situations to obtain a more accurate reading of their level of extension, and this has been supported by the MCC.

Bangladesh’s Al-Amin Hossain has been the latest to be reported by umpires following the 1st Test v West Indies in St Vincent; while here in the Caribbean former WI fast bowler, Tony Gray has urged the region’s coaches to do more to remedy doubtful bowling actions in developing young cricketers, and to take early action. ‘Prevention is better than cure,’ he asserted.

Ian Healy in a commentary excerpt from last year suspected that some coaches were encouraging bowlers to push the limit towards the full fifteen degrees.

Back in July, Kartikeya Date wrote an excellent article for Cricinfo in which he looked at the practicalities, or more likely the impracticalities facing umpires in applying Law 24 in conjunction with the 15 degree allowance, specifically for bowlers who have had certain deliveries within their armoury (usually the doosra) banned.

And finally, from May, here’s Peter Miller’s well-argued defence of bowlers who have come under the microscope.

David Oram

David Oram is the resident ‘statto’, and sometime presenter of ‘Mason & Guests’ – Voice of Barbados’ weekly cricket talk show, the leading cricket radio show in the West Indies – hosted by the Caribbean’s principal  radio commentator, Andrew Mason. You can tweet me at DavidOram@colblimp1983.



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