England allrounder Moeen Ali believes that the suspension of Pakistan offspinner Saeed Ajmal from international cricket is a major wake-up call for bowlers the world over, especially those with an inclination to bowl the doosra - the delivery that spins away from right-handed batsmen.
Having played alongside Ajmal at Worcestershire, and in the process gaining a few tips, Ali felt the ICC's clampdown on bowlers with suspect actions would force bowlers to refrain from employing the doosra, including himself.
"I'm going to continue to practice bowling the doosra, but I'm going to take a step back from actually bowling it in a match situation and perhaps concentrate on other deliveries and other technical changes that will help my bowling," the 27-year-old said in an interview. "I'll still practice it as I think it's a great weapon to have and it's an exciting delivery. When I see Saeed Ajmal bowling the doosra and the way he makes a fool out of the batsman, I love it and it's brilliant to watch.
"The doosra is a great skill, it's a skill that a lot of young bowlers around the world want to learn," he added. "To be able to bowl the doosra is a brilliant skill and to not have that delivery in international cricket which is the way it's heading, is a great loss to the game. The doosra is a skill that is keeping offspinners in the game and for it to be removed just because some people believe it cannot be bowled legally is a sad loss to the game of cricket."
Ali made his Test debut this season and went on to play in all seven matches against Sri Lanka and India. He scored a maiden century against Sri Lanka at Headingley and took 19 wickets with his fast-improving offspin in the five-Test series win over India. Reflecting on his success as a bowler against India, Ali admitted to being a bit surprised.
"It was a bit of a surprise but I always felt that I had potential as a bowler especially when Saeed Ajmal is telling you that you have ability and some talent as a bowler. I have to admit though I didn't think I would do so well especially against India," he stated. "I received a lot of advice from people whom I trust and I've worked really hard on my bowling and thankfully it's paid off. I expected to do better with the bat this summer but my bowling saved me and to be called an allrounder these days and not to be labelled a part-time bowler is really heartening."
His summer did see a sour point, however, when he was booed in two recent international games in his home city of Birmingham. The hostile reception at Edgbaston, especially loud and persistent during England's T20I win over India, came from a partisan majority of Indian supporters in the crowd. Ali acknowledged that the boos were probably because of his Pakistani heritage, playing against a team followed by British Asians of Indian descent.