Saqlain targets Ajmal return before World Cup

ISLAMABAD: Saqlain Mushtaq hopes suspended off spinner Saeed Ajmal will clear his bowling action and represents Pakistan in next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The Pakistan Cricket Board has hired spin legend Saqlain to assist Ajmal in rectifying his bowling action after he was suspended by the ICC on earlier this month.

“Our target is to get him back before the World Cup,” Saqlain told reporters on Thursday.

Saqlain arrived in Lahore on Wednesday and did two sessions with Ajmal at the National Cricket Academy along with Pakistan spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed and former fast bowler Mohammad Akram.

“Ajmal’s body movements are very positive, he’s a fighter and doing all the hard work,” Saqlain said.

He said he has special software in his laptop to measure degrees of the bowling arm and the PCB has super slow motion cameras to assist him in helping Ajmal.

“I have got all the technical things required to work with Ajmal and we are quite positive that you will hear good news,” Saqlain said.

According to the ICC report, none of the deliveries bowled by Ajmal during the eight overs of biomechanical testing in Australia came close to meeting the required regulations of 15 degrees elbow extension.

“If you develop your body muscles and do enough practice, you can produce good results,” Saqlain said. “Ajmal is not only an asset of Pakistan, he’s the asset of all the cricketing world.”

Saqlain was famous for inventing the ‘doosra’ – a delivery that spins away from a right-handed batsman. He took 208 wickets in 49 test matches in between 1995-2004 and 288 wickets in 169 ODIs.

Pakistan could not find Ajmal’s replacement for next month’s one-off Twenty20 and three one-day internationals against Australia and selectors recalled 22-year-old left-arm spinner Raza Hasan.

Adnan Rasool was tipped to replace Ajmal but the offspinner was reported for a suspect bowling action in the ongoing Champions League in India while representing Lahore Lions.

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