DUBAI: Pakistani all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez raised the excitement over the mystery delivery that off-spinner Saeed Ajmal wants to unveil against England in the first Test starting on Tuesday, saying it is “unique”.
Ajmal, who took the most Test wickets in 2011 with 50, declared last month he will unveil a mystery delivery against England and Hafeez said he has played that delivery in the nets and found it different.
“Yes, I have played his delivery in the nets. It's a bit different and he has worked a lot on this in the last six-eight months. He has not bowled it internationally, so it will be a bit different and exciting,” said Hafeez.
Hafeez, himself an off-spinner, refused to give more details.
“I can't tell more about it, he can better tell you. You will judge it when he bowls that, I don't want to reveal that. He has this new weapon and has command over it and has called it the 'teesra' (third one),” said Hafeez.
Former Pakistan off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq invented a unique delivery that he named 'doosra' (second one) – a delivery that is bowled with the normal off-spin action but turns the opposite way.
Hafeez said Ajmal has improved his skills through this new delivery.
“Because of his extraordinary work (on the delivery) ... I must leave it for him to bowl rather than I reveal anything, and I wish him success in this delivery. Every person has that ability to improve his skill and he has done that,” said Hafeez.
“I don't know how difficult it will be for others. I have played him as a bowler for the last eight, nine years so it will be something new in cricket.”
England batting coach Graham Gooch on Wednesday played down the hype over Ajmal's mystery delivery, saying it was no concern for England's batsmen.
Hafeez said Pakistan have the edge over England in spin bowling.
“We have an edge in the spin bowling as our spinners – Ajmal and Abdul Rehman – are world-class bowlers and conditions helped our slow bowlers here last year,” said Hafeez.
Both Pakistan and England are likely to enter the first Test with two spinners, with Hafeez providing Pakistan an extra option in the slow bowling department.
England have off-spinner Graeme Swann and left-armer Monty Panesar, who geared up for the Test with an eight-wicket haul in a warm-up match that his team won on Friday.
Hafeez said Pakistan were optimistic about the series and have the bowlers to take 20 wickets – a pre-requisite to win a Test.
The three-Test series will be followed by four one-day and three Twenty20 internationals.