Karachi: Pakistan's top spinner Saeed Ajmal will feature in the National T20 Championship next month in a bid to convince the national selectors he should be part of their plans for upcoming international assignments.
Saeed Ajmal. Pic/AFP
Reliable sources close to the national selectors and team management said that at present Ajmal was not part of their plans for either the coming series against England or the planned one against India in the UAE. "Despite his fantastic record on UAE pitches Ajmal is no longer the force he used to be after he changed his bowling action. He doesn't seem to have that killer instinct that brought him so many wickets in all three formats," one source close to the selectors told PTI.
Ajmal is due to return this week from England early next month to take part in the national T20 event but his performances for Hampshire have not raised the confidence of either the selectors or team management. "He has not performed consistently in any format he has taken wickets but at expensive rates," the source said. Ajmal was forced to modify his bowling action last year after he was banned from bowling by the ICC after which he underwent remedial work on his action.
He made a brief comeback to the Pakistan team on their tour to Bangladesh last April but failed to impress in either the ODI or T20 matches after which he was dropped from the national squad and went to England to play for Hampshire. Ajmal, 37, was Pakistan¿s leading wicket taker in all three formats between 2009 and 2014 taking 178 test, 184 ODI and 85 T20 international wickets before his bowling action was reported in Sri Lanka in September last year.
Another source who is close to the selectors said it appeared as if Ajmal's international career was over. "It will be very hard for him to now fight his way back into the team specially after the spectacular success that Yasir Shah has enjoyed while the selectors have now decided to give the task of bowling more overs to Shoaib Malik in ODIs and T20 cricket," he said.
Chief selector Haroon Rasheed when contacted said that the performance of Ajmal would be monitored and he will be called to the NCA for observation when head coach Waqar returns from Australia next month. "Right now, we are keeping an eye on his bowling figures in England," he added.