A Difficult Year For Saeed Ajmal
A year ago, Pakistan’s superstar spinner Saeed Ajmal’s bowling was called into question. This led to investigations by the International Cricket Council (ICC). His ‘doosra’ delivery was ruled to be illegal due to the angle of the arm at release point of the ball.
Saeed Ajmal then underwent modification of his bowling action with the assistance of former Pakistan spinner Saqlain Mushtaq. He successfully passed the re- test of his action and was cleared for action in February 2015.
Saeed Ajmal’s impressive international career started late at the age of 30 years in 2008.
For Pakistan he has taken 178 wickets in 35 Test matches, 184 wickets in 113 One Day matches and 85 wickets in 64 Twenty20 games.
Saeed’s off spin bowling showed guile and insight. His ‘doosra’, speed and height variations of deliveries made him very difficult to face, even for the world’s best big hitting batsmen. He is an attacking spinner and Pakistan cricket reaped the rewards.
However since returning from the enforced ban, his form and confidence have not been the same.
Earlier this year he was selected for the Bangladesh series, but was costly and replaced.
More recently Saeed has not had his usual success for Worcestershire in England. In the four day matches, 272 overs brought only 16 wickets. In one day games, 8 wickets in 68 overs, in T20 matches 21 wickets from 48 overs.
In Pakistan his last four T20 games for Faisalabad, overall he took 4 wickets for 124 runs. His economy rates have definitely slipped over the year.
Saeed is one of the most happy, smiling and jovial players, always smiling. He is always ready to be interviewed on TV and provides entertainment with his command of English.
In March 2015 he was honoured to receive the prestigious award, Sitara e Imtiaz.
Next month Saeed Ajmal turns 38 years old. He has been awarded a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) central contract. He faces strong competition from other spinners like Yasir Shah, Shoaib Malik and Zulfiqar Babar.
Saeed says he still has the passion and drive to play for Pakistan. I hope his form improves so he can feature Internationally again, but I am not sure how patient the PCB will be.