Saeed Ajmal is very much in our radar: Pak chief selector
Pakistan cricket's chief selector Haroon Rasheed has not ruled out the possibility of a comeback for discarded off-spinner Saeed Ajmal.
Karachi: Pakistan cricket's chief selector Haroon Rasheed has not ruled out the possibility of a comeback for discarded off-spinner Saeed Ajmal.
"He is very much in our radar and we are closely following his performances for Worcestershire in England," Haroon told PTI on Sunday.
The national selectors ignored Ajmal for the tour of Sri Lanka and the home one-day series against Zimbabwe after he failed to impress with his remodeled bowling action on the tour to Bangladesh earlier this year.
But the veteran off-spinner has shown signs of improvement while representing the English county in all three formats of the game and returned figures of 8/100 in Worcestershire's innings defeat of Hampshire last week.
His performance prompted Worcestershire's bowling coach Matt Mason to issue a warning to batsmen around the world, proclaiming that Ajmal was back to his best with a remodelled action.
"Ajmal is an asset to Pakistan cricket and we are in touch with him and we are following his performances with interest. We see a role for him in the coming days for the national team," Haroon said.
"You just can't discount a great bowler like him. But we realised after Bangladesh that he needed more time to get comfortable with his new bowling action," the former Test batsman said.
He said if Ajmal made a comeback and could bowl in tandem with leg spinner Yasir Shah, it would be a big boost to the national team.
"It would be great to have them bowling together. But we want to give more time to Ajmal. We are glad he is playing first class matches because that is the real test for him," he added.
"From what we are hearing it is great for Ajmal because he has been keen to prove to everyone he can still play international cricket even after remodeling his action and still find new ways of getting people out," Haroon said.
The chief selector said the decision to send Ajmal to Bangladesh was taken because the off-spinner himself was keen to test himself at the top level.
Mason, who picked up 314 wickets for Worcester, had said Ajmal had been rushed into the national side a bit too soon and thus a looked out of sorts in his comeback.
Ajmal last turned up in Pakistan colours in a Twenty20 match against Bangladesh, finishing with figures of 3.2-25-0.
He also played two ODIs on the Bangladesh tour and had a similarly unimpressive return. His 19.1 overs in the two games cost 123 runs for a solitary wicket.
Haroon said the selectors were also keeping a watch on tall left-arm pacer Muhammad Irfan, who made a comeback to international cricket after three and half months, in the ODI against Sri Lanka yesterday.
"He requires to be nursed through his career now because he will always be prone to fitness issues so we are going to ensure he is given proper rest and used properly," he added.