Former Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal has bowed out from cricket after his side Faisalabad’s defeat in the semi-finals of the National T20 Championship in Rawalpindi on Wednesday.
The 40-year-old off-spinner was accorded a guard of honour from both sets of team after the game which was won by the Lahore Whites.
The veteran spinner had earlier announced that the National T20 Cup was to be last as a player. Ajmal spoke about the desire to concentrate on his coaching assignments following his retirement.
“I will now concentrate on my assignments as a coach and on my cricket academy in Faisalabad,” he told media after the match.
The Pakistan man’s career had been littered with allegations about his bowling allegation being illegal but the spinner remained defiant in the wake of those.
He went on to play 35 Tests for his country, picking a total of 178 wickets at an average of just 28.10. Ajmal was even more lethal in the one-day format where he picked up 184 wickets in 113 games at an average of 22.72.
Thank you for your services @realsaeedajmal Your fans will always remember your smiling face and never-say-die spirit. You always wore the Green with a great sense of pride. 👏 pic.twitter.com/KSAaGh3DjO
— PCB Official (@TheRealPCB) November 29, 2017
His last involvement for his country came in April, 2015 against Bangladesh in a T20I. Ajmal’s best performance for Pakistan came in their Test series win over England in 2012 where he picked up 24 wickets in the three matches including a career-best 7-55 in the first Test at Dubai.
The spinner remains proud of his achievements and career with the Pakistan national team.
“I am proud that I have represented Pakistan and contributed in my country’s wins,” he said on Wednesday.
Ajmal was named as the coach of Pakistan Super League (PSL) outfit Islamabad Lions earlier this year and will be now concentrating on that.
The PCB released a media statement on Tuesday stating that it has constituted a four-man bowling action review committee to help Hafeez rectify his action in accordance with the laws of the ICC.
The committee, consisting of Ahsan Ali, Ali Zia, Saleem Jaffar and Sajjad Akbar, has been tasked to provide all support necessary to the 36-year-old in his bid to remodel his action to fit ICC’s rules and regulations.
The vastly experienced all-rounder was suspended from bowling international cricket with immediate effect following an independent assessment into his bowling action during a test conducted at the Loughborough University in England earlier this month.
Hafeez had been reported for a suspect bowling action for the third time in his career during the third ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the UAE in October following which he was required to undergo bowling tests to review his action.
The No.1 ranked all-rounder in the 50-over format has since then decided to give his commitments in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), choosing to work instead on rectifying his action.
Bowling action review committee for Mohammad Hafeez https://t.co/JTKkrY0O6t
— PCB Official (@TheRealPCB) November 21, 2017
“I have decided to not go to Bangladesh to play for the Comilla Victorians and instead I will remain in Lahore and work on my bowling action before taking a biomechanics test again at a ICC accredited laboratory,” Hafeez had said.
The former Pakistan skipper had only resumed bowling in international cricket in December last year after serving a 12-month ban for an ‘illegal’ action. The all-rounder had been banned from bowling for a year after he had been reported for a second time in July, 2015.
The PCB has also meanwhile slammed media reports which stated that the governing body was not supporting the veteran player after his suspension for the illegal action.
Imad was speaking to assembled media in Karachi on Tuesday and praised Sarfraz’s leadership of the side since taking over the captaincy reins.
The 28-year-old was addressing the media after being appointed captain of Pakistan Super League (PSL) outfit Karachi Kings.
“He’s the best thing ever that happened to Pakistan Cricket,” Imad said.
“He doesn’t eye personal pride, he is always there for Pakistan and wants to do the best for the country,” the all-rounder added.
When asked if he himself harboured any ambitions of leading the Pakistan side in the future, Imad said there would be no need of that as long as Sarfraz was around.
“Sarfraz is good enough a captain and there’s no need for me or anyone else to think of captaincy,” he said.
— Karachi Kings (@KarachiKingsARY) November 7, 2017
The all-rounder stated that the other players and he have no issue with the 30-year-old’s strict captaincy and the occasional rebukes.
“He’s always like this, he’s like a brother to us and everyone knows his style of leading the side. Those who don’t know him are making an issue, but we are comfortable with the way he’s leading the team,” he said.
While being full of praise for the team skipper, Imad was quick to also credit the team management and support staff for their role in Pakistan’s incredible turnaround in the limited-overs format.
“Team management deserves all the credit, the management is dealing with us very well. We have all realised the importance of fitness. We have understood how to carry the game. We have now started playing attacking cricket which is must for every format of the game,” he remarked.
“Coach, batting coach, bowling coach, fielding coach… everyone in management has been supporting players and the team environment is very morale-boosting, which is giving us confidence. The team atmosphere has given us the confidence that the Pakistan team is now capable of beating any team in the world,” he went on to add.
Sarfarz Ahmed’s men have been on a role in limited-overs cricket over the past year. The period included an unlikely ICC Champions Trophy triumph over arch-rivals India in England earlier this summer.
Bilateral series wins over the West Indies and Sri Lanka have also added to Pakistan’s rising star in the formats.
The team currently sits on top of the ICC T20I team rankings after their 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka. In the ODI format, pacer Hasan Ali has established himself as the No. 1 ranked bowler while Mohammad Hafeez leads the way in the all-rounder’s front.