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Saeed Ajmal
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News Analysis |

Ace Pakistani off-spinner, Saeed Ajmal has decided to retire from all forms of cricket, after playing at the international level since 2008.”I am quitting all forms of cricket after the current National Twenty20 tournament,” Ajmal told AFP from Rawalpindi on the phone.

Ajmal, known for his crafty off-spinners and the “doosra” lost his bite and penetration after remodeling his bowling action in 2015. One of the best spinners among his contemporaries, Ajmal was banned for an illegal bowling action in 2014. 

Ajmal admitted that the last two years were hard for him as he could not push his way into the national team.”Ban over action left me frustrated and hurt,” he said. “More hurtful was that current player Stuart Broad questioned that and his comments hurt me no end. But I have forgiven everyone.”

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Ajmal is still considered as one of the most important players that helped Pakistan become the number 1 test team. Ajmal’s 7-year non-stop stint helped Pakistan topple many opponents. He was instrumental in giving Pakistan its maiden World T20 title in 2009. His 24-wickets in the test series against England helped Pakistan whitewash the visitors in 2012.

Ajmal was a vital figure in Pakistan’s victories in the Asia Cup(2012) and series wins in India and South Africa(2013). Ajmal was pleased and satisfied with whatever he achieved.”It was a highly satisfying career in which I achieved whatever goals I set for myself and helped the team win matches.”

Ajmal was often compared to the spinning maestro, Saqlain Mushtaq because of his deceptive “doosra”. In his career, Ajmal bagged 178 wickets in 35 tests; 184 wickets in 113 ODIs and 85 wickets in 64 T20s. Also, he attained top ranks in the limited overs formats.

Known as a very jolly character, both on and off the field, Ajmal fought his way through. Often times, he covered his somewhat limited talent with excessive hard work. Ajmal is also famous for the last over in the 2010 edition of the World T20, in which Australia’s Michael Hussey pummeled Ajmal for three sixes to clinch an impossible victory.

This was perhaps the only cricket-related blemish by Ajmal; he never looked back and went on to become one of the best in his craft.

However, many legends went out crying and were not accorded the farewell that they deserved. It was Shahid Afridi who fervently drove home the point that heroes must be given a fitting send-off.

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Respect heroes

Ajmal joins stalwarts of Pakistan cricket who retired this year. Maverick all-rounder Shahid Afridi, former skipper Misbah Ul Haq and batting maestro, Younis Khan are the other three. 

Pakistan has been blessed with players who elevated the game of cricket. However, many legends went out crying and were not accorded the farewell that they deserved. It was Shahid Afridi who fervently drove home the point that heroes must be given a fitting send-off.

After many altercations and dilly-dallying, both Shahid Afridi and Misbah-Ul-Haq got a standing ovation in front of a full house at the Qaddafi Stadium during the Independence Cup between Pakistan and the World XI.

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Saeed Ajmal was conspicuously sidelined in the PCB Awards in September this year; many raised eyebrows on why Ajmal, the man behind Misbah’s rise up the ladder, was ignored. 

So far, no one from the board has hinted at anything to honor the services of Ajmal. The question is: will Ajmal be given a good send-off or will he go out just like so many others?It also remains to be seen whether the PCB, who wants to develop the game uses Ajmal’s experience at any level or role.

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