Saeed Ajmal shuts down cricket academy after terror threats
Banned Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal has been forced to shut down his international cricket academy in his home town of Faisalabad after his training academy was subject to terror threats.
Confirming the news to PTI, the 37-year-old said that he had to close down the academy for the time being after having a meeting with the deputy commissioner of Faisalabad and the vice-chancellor of Faisalabad Agriculture University, on whose land the academy is located.
"I was told that the Punjab government has sent advice to close down the academy temporarily because threats have been received against the academy that it may be attacked," Ajmal told.
"The administration had apprehensions and security concerns and said it should be closed down until proper security arrangements made to run it," the off-spinner added.
There were warnings issued by the Government of Pakistan about possible terror threats to educational institutions in the country, following the gruesome attacks in Peshawar’s Army Public School on December 16 which killed 132 children.
Didn’t want to risk youngsters’ lives: Ajmal
Ajmal added that close to 200 boys and girls and many other handicapped people visit his academy on a regular basis, and he didn't wish to take any risks right now. He felt that closing down the academy was the right thing to do under such circumstances.
"I didn't want to take a risk with these youngsters and right now the government is helping us prepare a comprehensive security plan for the academy including issuance of computerised identity cards for all the participants, coaches and workers at the academy," he said.
"It is disappointing to close down the academy for the time being in such conditions, but it is a sensible move right now," he added.
Ajmal later took to Twitter to state that it shouldn’t be too long before his academy re-opens, and also hoped for the security situation in Pakistan to improve in the near future.
Please note our Cricket Acadmey will reopen soon as UAF will be reopened as usual,we pray for better security situation in our country ia.— Saeed Ajmal (@REALsaeedajmal) January 6, 2015
Ajmal’s academy provides free coaching for youngsters, and he conceded that it was his dream to see the training centre flourish. The off-spinner has been involved in a tussle with the university over the lease period of land on which the academy has been built, but he was confident that the issue will be sorted soon after meeting the Punjab government officials.
Ajmal earlier withdrew from the 2015 World Cup after failing to rectify his bowling action in time for the mega event.