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Cricket is a gentleman’s game and every cricketer with a sense of sportsmanship wants to transfer the legacy to the next generation. Some of the great cricketers can be an example of it. The superstar, the magician, the most skillful spinner in his era, the nightmare for the world batters, former world’s top-ranked bowler in the ICC Rankings, the one, and only Faisalabad-born off-spinner Saeed Ajmal.
A glimpse of the beginning of Saeed Ajmal’s Career:
He made his international debut at the age of 30 and proved his worth in the Pakistan team as well as in international cricket. He has remained an integral part of Pakistan IX. His performance in white and red-ball cricket showed the world what he is capable of. He is known especially for his DOSRA delivery and also introduced the TEESRA in 2013 when England toured Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
A space left after his Retirement:
The star spinner was suspended for an illegal bowling action. After remodelling his bowling action, he was not as successful as he was before. Till his retirement, Pakistan could not find Saeed Ajmal’s Replacement. Many Batters admit and declare Ajmal was difficult to play.
Contribution of Saeed Ajmal to Pakistan’s Cricket Team:
His contributions to Pakistan cricket are excellent. Ajmal remained the No 1 ODI and T20I bowler in ICC ranking and No 2 in Test ranking for many years. He played 113 ODI’s with an excellent economy rate of just 4.18 with 184 wickets and 64 T20I with an excellent economy of 6.36 picking up 85 wickets. The off-spinner also performed in red-ball cricket and picked up 178 wickets with an economy of just 2.59 in 35 matches.
Saeed Ajmal’s decline:
His decline started when umpires found his most deliveries which are far extended from 15 degrees. Later ICC declared Ajmal’s bowling action illegal and suspended him until he overcome his illegal action. The ICC 50 overs World Cup 2015 was just around the corner when Saeed Ajmal had been suspended from bowling in international cricket.
A huge loss for Pakistan’s Bowling attack:
This created huge problems for the Pakistan cricket team, especially in their spin department. Pakistan selectors are yet looking for Saeed Ajmal’s replacement until now, but could not dig any other like him.
Because of that time, many other off-spinners found illegal bowling action at the domestic and international levels, and later on, they were also suspended. Most bowlers belong to Pakistan and Adnan Rasool is also included in this list. Adnan might have been Ajmal’s replacement but he was also suspended for his bowling action.
Difficulty in producing his real Replacement:
Till now Pakistan is searching for the replacement of a magician bowler but failed. Presently not too many off-spinners play at the domestic level. Sajid Khan is one of them, who made their international debut and showed great performance in Bangladesh including his match-winning performance in the 2nd Test. Later, he failed to perform against the mighty Aussies in Pakistan and then was dropped from the Sri Lanka tour.
Way forward in finding out his Replacement
If Pakistan wants to find Saeed Ajmal’s Replacement then PCB should organize a talent hunt, especially for the off -Spinners. Trying to groom them in National High-Performance Centre (NHPC) and giving them proper chances at the professional level can be another way out. And the spinners who are already playing at the domestic level likes of Sajid Khan, should be given proper chances otherwise it can be difficult for Pakistan to find Ajmal’s Replacement.
Written by: Hamza Mushtaq & Elza Tariq