If any team has suffered the most by ICC’s recent crackdown on the bowlers having suspect actions, its Pakistan. First Saeed Ajmal was banned and then, it was Mohammad Hafeez and neither of these two bowlers got their action cleared ahead of the World Cup. Ajmal was not even named in the final squad of Pakistan for the tournament. Hafeez got in, but, as a batsman only. The bowling of these two gentlemen would have made Pakistan a serious threat in the World Cup. They are still a good team, Pakistan, but, they do not look to have as dangerous an attack as they used to have in most of the past World Cups.
One would say that the ball does not spin in Australia and New Zealand and thus, Ajmal-Hafeez would not have been as effective as they are in subcontinent. That’s not true at all. These are the two bowlers who never depended on turn that much to beat the batsman or get him dismissed. Their bowling was more about their speed variations, the use of the crease and of course the presence of mind. Somebody like Hafeez would never let you come down the pitch easily to him and play the lofted shot. He was such an expert at shortening the length of the ball at the last second and getting the batsman to play a false shot.
Ajmal was a master at using the crease. He would change the angle, would go over the wicket, around the wicket citing the strengths and weaknesses of the batsman and he would also bowl from the corner of the crease at times. Of course, he had that gift of ability to turn the ball both ways, but, even in non turning conditions, he would fetch wickets for his captain.
Had Ajmal and Hafeez been there, people would have seen some class off spin bowling in the World Cup 2015.