Ajmal will be the x-factor against India: Ramiz Raja

New Delhi: Former captain and noted commentator Ramiz Raja feels off-spinner Saeed Ajmal`s presence is the "x-factor" that Pakistan will have against India in the upcoming five-match limited overs series (T20 and ODI), which starts in Bangalore on Tuesday.

"India have the advantage of coming into the series having played against England while Pakistan will be a bit ring-rusty but Saeed Ajmal is the x-factor that they have and India doesn`t," Raja, who is an expert on `Star Cricket`, told PTI during an interview.

"Ajmal has been Pakistan`s `Go-To` man for some time now. He is someone who knows how to pick up wickets and also has a lot of variation in his bowling," Raja further explained.

Talk of Ajmal and comparisons with India`s Ravichandran Ashwin are bound to crop up, but Raja felt that the burly Tamil Nadu boy needed to work on his variations.

"I saw him trying too many things during the Test matches against England. He was trying to come round the wicket. Surprisingly, when he played the T20`s, I didn`t find him coming round the wicket.

"Although he (Ashwin) was being repeatedly hit over the mid-wicket region, he didn`t try anything different. His bowling was very disappointing during England T20 Internationals as he got only one wicket," the veteran of 57 Tests and 198 ODIs explained.

Raja felt that Ashwin needed to concentrate more on bowling rather than batting.

"Ashwin shouldn`t forget his primary role in the team. He is an off-spinner who needs to pick wickets."

On similar lines, he said that it`s time that Shahid Afridi realized he is a "batting all-rounder not a bowling all-rounder".

"When Afridi is not batting well, it affects the balance of the side. He needs to rise as a batsman. His bowling has improved a lot in the recent years as his batting has dipped. But he needs to believe that he is a batting all-rounder and not other way round. But he is still a great asset to have both cricketing as well as marketing wise," Raja said.

The former skipper welcomed the PCB`s decision to have Inzamam ul Haq as batting consultant of the national side.

"This is a welcome move by the PCB. Inzamam has vast experience and bring that calmness which is so required at the top level. He made batting look very easy and uncomplicated when he played. I wish that his style of coaching is as uncomplicated as his batting was," Raja conlcuded.


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