Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here

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

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 24, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Sharjah

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 25, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 25, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 26, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 26, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

More

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 23, 2014  at Dubai

Chennai Super Kings won by 7 runs

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 22, 2014  at Sharjah

Kings XI Punjab won by 72 runs

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 21, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Chennai Super Kings won by 93 runs

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 20, 2014  at Sharjah

Kings XI Punjab won by 7 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014  at Dubai

Delhi Daredevils won by 4 wkts

Photos

CSK vs DD, IPL 2014 Match 8 at Abu Dhabi

Videos

IPL: Tanmay Mishra talks shows the contents of his kit

Sachin Tendulkar — One of the hardest terms to optimise for any SEO professional

Sachin Tendulkar changed the fortunes of cricket journalists in India

Sachin Tendulkar — the greatest batsman of India

Sachin Tendulkar: A timeless fairytale

Sachin Tendulkar: The child, the father, but sexy? Not quite

Chennai Super Kings Delhi Daredevils Glenn Maxwell India IPL IPL 7 IPL 2014 Kings XI Punjab KXIP vs SRH MS Dhoni Rajasthan Royals RR vs CSK 2014 Sanju Samson Sunrisers Hyderabad Suresh Raina

IPL 2014: Sunrisers Hyderabad look to open their account against Delhi Daredevils

Pakistan Cricket Board looking at appointing Ahmed Shehzad as the captain of T20 setup

IPL 2014: Mumbai Indians look for win against confident Chennai Super Kings

Ali Bacher backs AB de Villiers as next Test captain

Sachin Tendulkar votes in Lok Sabha elections

Happy birthday! A bouquet of CricketCountry’s best Sachin Tendulkar features

Sachin Tendulkar – The century of centuries in tweets

Sachin Tendulkar — One of the hardest terms to optimise for any SEO professional

Sachin Tendulkar changed the fortunes of cricket journalists in India

Happy Birthday, Sachin Tendulkar — The lesser known records

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

622 Posts | 7 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli's 77 during India vs Sri Lanka ICC World T20 2014 final at Dhaka

Salman Khan beats Hrithik Roshan to be voted Bollywood’s fittest actor!

Samsung’s unannounced 7-inch phablet leaked online

Did Kareena Kapoor shy away from voting?

Pakistan Cricket Board looking at appointing Ahmed Shehzad as the captain of T20 setup

IPL 2014: Sunrisers Hyderabad look to open their account against Delhi Daredevils

Facebook CFO David Ebersman to bid adieu

Juhi Chawla, Preity Zinta, Mahesh Bhatt, Ritesh Deshmukh among others cast their vote

9 factors that increase your risk for HIV

Also on cricketcountry.com