Mumbai: The day came up with a bag full of hopes for banned Pakistani player Saeed Ajmal. Pakistan’s chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq has shown trust in off-spinner, by persisting that the national selectors had not discarded him from future plans.
After observing his smooth performances in domestic cricket national selectors may give him a chance to play for the country again.
“Saeed has been a great bowler for Pakistan and it is a fact he performed well in the national T20 championship. We are watching his performances in domestic first class matches.
If he continues his form he will be considered for selection,” Inzamam said.
The Pakistani off-spinner was known as a wonderful wicket-taker in all three formats. However, his career was dropped in the arm of misfortune when ICC banned him from bowling due to an illegal bowling action in 2014. Soon he returned to competitive cricket with a modified action.
“It is never easy for a bowler to comeback with a modified bowling action and do well. Saeed has shown lot of resilience and he can be rewarded,” Inzamam said.
Saeed has faced ignorance from national selectors. It was evident from his last appearance, where he played in a couple of limited over’s game, in Bangladesh, April 2015. So, such an offer from selectors deploys an important seed in Saeed’s career.
Ajmal turned 39 this month, despite of following a general trend and encountering numerous criticisms that were showered upon him, he believes strongly on his abilities. His attitude says that he doesn’t carry any idea of retirement over his head.
“No matter what anyone says. No matter what anyone thinks. I have confidence in my abilities and I know I deserve another shot at international cricket,” Ajmal said.
One should also consider that it’s not a clear cut green flag being swayed in front of Ajmal’s career. Inzamam, has kept in front national team requirements, as the basis of selection.
“If Saeed is required at anytime for the Pakistan team he will be selected. There is no question of ruling him out. But we are now following a policy of picking players according to team requirements,” he said.
Still, Pakistan is facing a scarcity of quality off-spinners, a harsh truth, which even Inzamam admits.
“Since Saeed and Hafeez encountered problems we have not had any off-spinner worthy of a second look. I have asked our selector Tauseef Ahmed to hold a camp for promising off-break bowlers soon and see what can be done,” he said.
The chief selector also said that Azhar Ali would continue to open the innings for Pakistan in Tests and One-day Internationals.
“We are no longer considering him as a middle order batsman. He can bat equally well as an opener and at number three. So we are now considering him as our regular opener.
But we will be taking a reserve opener as well to New Zealand and Australia,” he said.