Player Profile: Saeed Ajmal

Saeed Ajmal

Date of birth:

October 14, 1977

Teams Represented:

Pakistan, Faisalabad, Islamabad Cricket Association, Khan Research Labs, Water and Power Development Authority

Batting style:

Right-hand bat

Bowling style:

Right-arm off-break

Ajmal was a late bloomer, but since receiving a call-up to the Pakistan squad for the Asia Cup at the age of 30, his career has rocketed.

He began making a name for himself while playing with Khan Research Labs in 2007-08, taking 38 wickets in 12 first-class matches at an average of 29 apiece, and 12 wickets in nine list A games.

On his debut against India, the 32-year-old claimed the wicket of Yusuf Pathan as Pakistan won by eight wickets.

It wasn’t long before he became an integral part of the Pakistan one-day team, impressing against Australia in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Traditionally an off-spinner, Ajmal bowls with subtle variations and throws in the odd unreadable doosra.

Perhaps his greatest asset is his ability to contain batsmen. He has a brilliant economy rate, going for a little over four runs an over in ODI’s.

There has been some controversy surrounding his bowling technique but his action was cleared and he immediately responded by playing a crucial role in Pakistan’s triumphant 2009 World Twenty20 title.

Along with leg-spinner Shahid Afridi, Ajmal proved a real handful for batsmen with constant variations of flight and pace. Together, they frustrated teams in the middle overs, lowering the run-rate and forcing mistakes from batsmen attempting to attack.

Ajmal finished as the joint second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament, and if he can produce similar performances on the low, slow Caribbean decks, Pakistan has plenty of match winners to profit.

Pakistan are in Group A with Bangladesh and Australia, in arguably the toughest group of the competition – the infamous group of death. Therefore results may boil down to tournament run rates – making Ajmal’s individual efforts even more crucial.

He may not be the most glamorous player in the team, but Ajmal is effective at what he does and Pakistan will need his consistency if they are to prosper.

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