Saeed Ajmal set to retire from all forms of cricket
Controversial off-spinner Saeed Ajmal is set to retire from all forms of cricket after the end of the ongoing National T20 tournament in Pakistan.
“This national event is my last tournament and I don’t want to be a burden on any team. The last phase was frustrating. But before anyone can raise a finger against my selection [in domestic matches], I want to leave and that’s my final decision”, Ajmal said during the mid-innings break at Rawalpindi during a tournament game, according to a report in Wisden India.
The first instance of his dodgy bowling action being reported was in 2009, but he was cleared soon after, helping his side win the World T20 in England the same year, their first major ICC title since the 1992 World Cup.
A late bloomer in international cricket, Ajmal, now 40, had to undergo the process of re-modelling his action in 2014, a move that greatly affected his wicket-taking prowess. Before the remodelling, Ajmal was one of the most sought-after spinners in world cricket, and from November 2011 to December 2014, was the No.1 bowler in ICC’s ODI rankings.
After being banned by the ICC for an illegal bowling action, he underwent a corrective program with Saqlain Mushtaq, but couldn’t recreate the magic of old, and returned with listless performances in the 2015 World Cup. His last international game was a T20I against Pakistan at Dhaka in April that year.
Earlier this month, he was named as the spin bowling coach of Islamabad United, one of the teams for the Pakistan Super League's third edition.
In 35 Tests, Ajmal took 178 wickets, while in 113 ODIs and 64 T20Is, he took 184 and 85 wickets respectively. In 2011, he was the leading wicket-taker in the longest format, snaring 50 victims from eight games and used the doosra to devastating effect in an international career that started as a 30-year-old in 2008.
As a tribute to his deeds for the national side, he received the Sitara-e-Imtiaz, the third highest civilian award of Pakistan, by then President Mamnoon Hussain in March 2015.
Here's a collection of some of his best wickets in Pakistan colours: