Windies series to be contest between `trump card` Ajmal, Narine, says ex-Pak player

Karachi: Former Pakistani cricketer Tauseef Ahmed has backed number one spinner Saeed Ajmal as a `trump card` for Pakistan for the West Indies campaign, saying that the series will be a contest between Ajmal and West Indies spinner Sunil Narine.

Ajmal, who took five for 37 in the practice match against Guyana ahead of the ODIs, will be looking to contain the West Indies` firepower when the two sides take the field on Sunday, the Express Tribune reports.

Stating that the series will be a contest between Ajmal and Narine as both of them are match-winners for their team, Ahmed said that whoever does better will give their side the edge, adding that although Narine is the current favourite, Ajmal cannot be disregarded as he has won several matches for Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Ahmed believed that Shahid Afridi`s return to the team would give it a much-needed boost, saying that he felt that the all-rounder would rise to the challenge given that West Indies would be a tough opposition in their own backyard as they have Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and small grounds.

According to the report, three successive losses in the Champions Trophy meant that Pakistan was the only team to return home without a point in the mega event, with the batting flopping miserably in all the matches, adding that the flop show also forced the selectors to bring back Afridi, who was previously dropped over poor form.

However, captain Misbah-ul Haq, who will lead the ODI side that will contest five matches against the hosts, said that his players were looking for redemption when they take on the West Indies in the first ODI in Guyana.

Meanwhile, new West Indies ODI captain Dwayne Bravo said it was still early for him to think about how the leadership responsibility would affect him after he took over from Darren Sammy, and asked people to show more faith in his players as they have performed well in the past, despite losing the Tri Nation series recently.

The five-match series will only be Bravo`s third after he was handed the captain`s arm-band ahead of the Champions Trophy, but he admitted he needed to do better with bat and ball.

West Indies had a decent Champions Trophy with a win and a loss followed by a tied result and started off well in the recently-concluded Tri-nation Series although they failed to reach the final after going down to India and Sri Lanka in the second round, the report added.