Home > News >

Saeed Ajmal key performer for Pakistan, feels Graeme Smith

Saeed Ajmal key performer for Pakistan, feels Graeme Smith

Ajmal, who turns 36 on the first day of the match, took 24 wickets when Pakistan humbled then world number one England 3-0 in the UAE last year © Getty Images

Abu Dhabi: Oct 13, 2013

Rival captains Misbah-ul Haq and Graeme Smith both agreed Pakistani off-spinner Saeed Ajmal will be the key in the two-Test series starting on Monday.

Ajmal, who turns 36 on the first day of the match, took 24 wickets when Pakistan humbled then world number one England 3-0 in the United Arab Emirates last year.

But Misbah urged his wily spinner to lift his game.

“I think it [bowling to South Africans] will be a big challenge for Ajmal,” said Misbah at the unveiling of the trophy for the series. Misbah conceded South Africans play Ajmal better than English batsmen.

“He (Ajmal) was new to England and that’s why they struggled against him. South Africans have played him more, so it’s a big challenge for Ajmal and he will have to lift his bowling because he is up against a team who plays him well,” said Misbah.

Excluding his ten wickets on a spin-friendly Cape Town pitch earlier this year, Ajmal has only four wickets in four Tests against South Africa.

Smith agreed his batsmen play Ajmal well, but the off-spinner can still pose a challenge.

“I think last time we were on this tour, we played Ajmal really well and I think he ended up missing a few games on the tour,” said Smith of South Africa’s last series here in 2010 when Ajmal was dropped after taking only three wickets in the first Test.

“He still is a key performer for Pakistan and he’s a world class performer… it’s real respect factor for what he can do… he’s a world class bowler, I think we’ve had a good success against him and that’s nice to know,” said Smith, who returns to international cricket after a 21-week break following an ankle operation.
But besides Ajmal, Pakistan also has the option of playing two more spinners — both left-armers — in Abdur Rehman and Zulfiqar Babar.

Babar, at 34, has yet to play a Test but has been a prolific wicket-taker in Pakistan’s domestic season.
Smith admitted he didn’t know what to expect of Babar.

“He (Babar) is probably the unknown factor for us, we’ve got a little bit of footage of him, some of our guys have seen him bowl before, but until you’ve really played against someone there’s always an unknown factor,” said Smith, whose side has been unbeaten away from home since losing 2-0 in Sri Lanka in 2006.

“We haven’t dwelled on any of sort of past experiences away from home, but I think every time you do overcome winning away from home, there’s a certain strength that you get as a team.”

Smith played down any pressure of being the world’s best Test team.

“I would say only the pressure we put on ourselves, I mean naturally, is an expectation of performance,” said Smith whose team took over as number one from England last year.

The second and final Test will be played in Dubai from October 23. Both teams will also play five One-Day Internationals (ODI) and two Twenty20 Internationals.

Pakistan vs South Africa – Live on Ten Cricket

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Dhaka

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

AB de Villiers praises team after win in 1st ODI

Saeed Ajmal’s action to be assessed after two more weeks of remedial work under Saqlain Mushtaq

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1 highlights: Younis Khan’s ton, Mitchell Johnson’s riveting spell

Steve O’Keefe and other Test cricketers with apostrophes in their surnames

Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Geoff Marsh and other Father-Son trios to have played Test cricket

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Why did Mohammad Hafeez go for a shocking review?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Live Streaming: Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 2 at Dubai

Live Cricket Score: Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 2 at Dubai

Live Scorecard: Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 2 at Dubai

Teams display confidence ahead of the World Cricket League Division 3

Saeed Ajmal’s action to be assessed after two more weeks of remedial work under Saqlain Mushtaq

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Mitchell Johnson shows signs of effectiveness on unhelpful surfaces

Joginder Sharma: When an over eclipses a career

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: Vital for Brendon McCullum to find form quickly

Younis Khan: First Pakistani and 12th overall to score a century against all 9 Test nations

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1 highlights: Younis Khan’s ton, Mitchell Johnson’s riveting spell

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here