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Saeed Ajmal becomes member of a religious group: Sources

Karachi: Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal has become an active member of a leading Sunni Muslim religious movement after his international career was derailed this year due to a change in his bowling action, according to sources.

Saeed Ajmal
Saeed Ajmal

Videos of Ajmal wearing a green turban and giving short sermons on religion have been making the rounds on a social messaging service soon after he returned from Saudi Arabia after performing Haj.

Sources close to Ajmal said that the senior player had started attending sessions of the Dawat-e-Islami, a leading religious movement of the Sunni Muslim Barelvi sect with headquarters in Karachi and its centres all over the world.

Followers of the Dawat-e-Islami distinguish themselves by wearing green turbans. "He has attended sermons of the Dawat-e-Islami on their Madani television channel," one source said.

Ajmal, who turns 38 on Wednesday, remained Pakistan's leading wicket taker in all three formats of the game with 178 Test, 184 ODI and 85 T20 International wickets before his bowling action was declared illegal in September last year.

Since then, he has struggled to make a comeback to international cricket with his modified bowling action and appeared in a few T20 and ODI games on the tour to Bangladesh in April before being sidelined by the selectors.

Ajmal recently said that he would be representing his department in the ongoing domestic cricket qualifying rounds and had still not given up hope of making a comeback to international cricket. "I have not decided to retire as yet and I will play the domestic season and see how it goes," he had said.

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