Karachi: PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan has said that the option of flying out off-spinner Saeed Ajmal to Australia for the cricket World Cup was available if Pakistan reached the semi-finals of the tournament.
Saeed Ajmal. Pic/AFP
Khan said that Ajmal could replace the injured pacer Muhammad Irfan, who was ruled out of the World Cup on Tuesday with a stress fracture of the pelvic. Pakistan take on co-hosts Australia at the Adelaide Oval on Friday. "We are sending no replacement for Irfan for the quarter finals because we don't have time as by the time the
replacement reaches Adelaide it will be too late for him to take part in the quarter final," Khan said.
"But yes if we reach the semi finals than a replacement will be sent and it could be Saeed Ajmal," he added. Ajmal is presently working as an expert on a television channel for the World Cup and was due to play in the non-first class grade two Patrons Trophy competition but his regular employers didn't give him permission to play for another side.
The 38-year-old champion spinner had to sit out of the World Cup after the ICC suspended him from bowling in international cricket last September because of an illegal bowling action. Ajmal finally cleared the ICC bowling review test but by that time the World Cup squad had been finalised and he was not part of the final-15.
The PCB chief however made it clear Ajmal was an option but it was upto the team management to decide on the replacement. "They can ask for someone else," he said. The name of left-arm pacer Junaid Khan has been doing the rounds as a possible replacement for Irfan but even he has recovered from an injury and has not played competitive cricket since January.
Junaid was originally named in the World Cup squad but before the team left for New Zealand he injured himself while bowling in the short conditioning camp in Lahore and was ruled out of the tournament.
"Yes Junaid is also a possible replacement but even earlier I had suggested to the tour selection committee to consider Ajmal as a replacement for Muhammad Hafeez but they wanted a specialist opener and we sent Nasir Jamshed," he added.