Saeed Ajmal © AFP
Saeed Ajmal was easily breaking the 15 degrees elbow extension allowed by the ICC while bowling © AFP

Karachi: Sep 15, 2014

Pakistan‘s suspended off-spinner Saeed Ajmal has not given up hope on playing in the ICC World Cup 2015 to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand. Ajmal told reporters in Lahore on Monday that the ban imposed on him from bowling in international cricket was disappointing but its not the end of the world.

“I don’t take it as a pressure or tension. For me it is a challenge. Obviously I am saddened like every other Pakistani because of the ban. But I am confident that with the help of a legend like Saqlain Mushtaq and our coaches I can get back into international cricket before the World Cup,” he said at a function organized by his bank to give him his promotion letter. Ajmal was reported by match officials after the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle last month and subsequently sent for biomechanic tests to Brisbane.

The test results from the International Cricket Council (ICC) accredited laboratory showed he was easily breaking the 15 degrees elbow extension allowed by the ICC while bowling. Ajmal now two options either to appeal against the suspension or remodel his action and appear in the biomechanic tests again. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has said it had put aside the appeal option because if it fails Saeed can be banned from bowling for another year or so. Instead it has hired Pakistan’s former off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq to come to Lahore and work with Ajmal and help him remodel his bowling action. “I am happy Saqlain will be working with me. He is a legend and I learnt a lot watching him bowl. I am sure he and other coaches will be able to work out any problems with my bowling action,” Ajmal said.

The off-spinner who has been Pakistan’s top bowler for the last three years said that the suspension came as a disappointment but he would continue to fight for revival. “I know what I am capable of and with the PCB and people all supporting me I know I can make a comeback soon,” he said. The off-spinner said he wanted to immediately start work on his action but would play in domestic cricket later on to test himself out before the PCB goes to the ICC.

Ajmal said that in cricket no one was indispensable and Pakistan cricket had loads of talent. “I believe that there is always someone who can do better than you.” Ajmal said that the upcoming series against Australia and New Zealand in the UAE were crucial to Pakistan’s chances of doing well in the World Cup. “I think we need to focus hard on these two series and try to do well in them. If we do well it will boost our morale for the World Cup. There is lot of unity in our team and talent as well. It is just a matter of getting back into a winning momentum,” he added. The PCB has reportedly hired Saqlain for a sum of one million rupees per month during his stay in Pakistan.

Complete coverage of Saeed Ajmal’s suspension here