Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal has been suspended from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect due to an illegal action.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed the sanction, which is likely to send shockwaves through the sport, on Tuesday after an independent analysis of Ajmal's action was completed.
Ajmal, arguably the world's leading spin bowler, was reported following Pakistan's Test against Sri Lanka in Galle last month.
The 36-year-old was duly subjected to testing by the ICC's accredited team of human movement specialists at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane. Having been banned, he will be able to apply for a re-assessment after modifying his action.
A media release from the ICC read: "The International Cricket Council today confirmed that an independent analysis has found the bowling action of Pakistan"s off-spinner Saeed Ajmal to be illegal and, as such, the player has been suspended from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect.
"The analysis revealed that all his deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted under the regulations.
"Saeed, who was reported after the first Test match against Sri Lanka in Galle last month, can apply for a re-assessment after he has modified his bowling action in accordance with clause 2.4 of the Regulations for the Review of Bowlers Reported with Suspected Illegal Bowling Actions."
News of Ajmal's ban represents a huge blow to Pakistan ahead of their upcoming series against Australia, who are scheduled to play a solitary Twenty20, three one-day internationals and two Tests in the United Arab Emirates next month.
A latecomer to international cricket who made his Pakistan debut at the age of 30, Ajmal has gone on to prove a potent weapon against the world's best.
Currently ranked as the number-one bowler in the ICC ODI player rankings, he boasts 446 international scalps and has claimed 10 five-wicket hauls in 35 Test appearances.
Pakistan will be eager for Ajmal, who had his action investigated in 2009 only to subsequently be cleared by the ICC, to return ahead of next year's 50-over World Cup, which takes place in Australia and New Zealand from February 14.
He is the third spinner to be banned by the ICC in recent months, after Sachithra Senanayake and Kane Williamson received similar punishments.