Saeed Ajmal, one of Pakistan’s greatest spinners, is to retire from all cricket after the National T20 tournament, which finishes on 24 November. He will take up a new career in coaching beginning with a role at Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League.
Ajmal, now 40, will officially hang up his boots after the National T20 tournament, which finishes on 24 November. A press conference will be held for which the date and venue will be announced in due course.
A Benefit match celebrating him and his contribution to cricket, organised by ICA, will be held in Faisalabad after PSL 2018. A galaxy of cricket stars will participate to honour this humble man and his extraordinary skills.
His retirement brings to an end a colourful if controversial career, though not one lacking in courage. To be the best Test bowler in the world one minute and then be forced to remodel your action not once but twice, the next, is not for the faint of heart. It meant that Ajmal the cricketer was truly forged in the school of hard knocks something that should hold him in good stead for his new career in coaching.
His record of 178 Test wickets from 35 Tests is phenomenal, especially as he was a late starter only playing his first Test at the age of 32. At his peak few batsmen could cope with his ripping off-break and baffling Doosra, which he tended to bowl from around the wicket for maximum confusion. Purists will say his action defied the laws of the game. Maybe, but what he did with a ball certainly defied the laws of physics.
He played 177 white ball games for Pakistan, taking 269 wickets. His batting, in all formats, was less successful than his bowling, though he did make a Test fifty against England at Edgbaston in 2010.
He played county cricket for Worcestershire in 2015, where he was a popular member of the team. But it is his shredding of England in the UAE during 2012, when he took 24 wickets in three games at 14.07, for which he will most be remembered.
In that series no batsmen had the slightest clue how to play him as he turned gnarled professionals into quivering wrecks – a fine memory to cherish as he heads off into the sunset.
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