Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal has announced his retirement from all forms of professional cricket at the end of National T20 tournament in Pakistan which he is currently playing.
Once a No.1 ODI bowler, Ajmal”s career was hampered by a ban from bowling because of illegal bowling action in 2014. He came back with a remodeled action but didn”t achieve the same success after that. His last appearance in Pakistani colors came in April 2015.
“I am quitting all forms of cricket after the current National Twenty20 tournament. It was a highly satisfying career in which I achieved whatever goals I set for myself and helped the team win matches.” Ajmal spoke to AFP from Rawalpindi on phone
Speaking about the ban over bowling action he said, “Ban over action left me frustrated and hurt. More hurtful was that current player Stuart Broad questioned that and his comments hurt me no end. But I have forgiven everyone.” Stuart Broad had once questioned the legality of Ajmal”s action when the off-spinner was playing County Cricket in England.
Ajmal took a dig at the process of reporting bowlers for illegal action, “It seems that the process was meant for me and (Mohammad) Hafeez, all other bowlers with questionable actions are still playing,” he said.
One of the many late bloomers in cricket, Ajmal made his international debut at the age of 30 against India in 2008 Asia Cup. Thereafter, in next 3 years, he became Pakistan”s frontline spinner in all 3 formats. His mystery delivery was doosra, that used to bamboozle even the best batsman in the business. 2011 to 2014 was the purple patch in his career. He is known for his performance against England in February 2012 when Pakistan whitewashed the then No.1 test team England 3-0 in UAE. Ajmal picked up 24 wickets in 3 tests.
In 2014 he was reported for suspect bowling action. He went back to the drawing board, rectified it but was never as effective as he used to be. In April 2015, he made a comeback with remodeled action and picked only 1 wicket from 2 ODIS and 1 T20I against Bangladesh and went for lots of runs.
He played 35 tests, 113 ODIS and 64 T20Is with 178, 184 and 85 wickets respectively. Despite achieving all the success in ODI cricket, Ajmal has a unique feat of never winning a man of the match award in ODIS. Ajmal now wants to take up coaching post-retirement.
– by Atharva Apte