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FAISALABAD: Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal announced Thursday that he is setting up a cricket academy to find new talent and produce bowlers like himself to torment the world's best batsmen.

The 35-year-old is regarded as the best spinner in all three formats of the game, and was instrumental in Pakistan's rout of the world's then best Test team England in the United Arab Emirates last year.

He said the Saeed Ajmal International Cricket Academy, in the eastern Pakistani city of Faisalabad, will be free of charge to budding cricketers.

“I want to groom the enormous talent in the country and no fee will be charged in my academy because I don't want the players to suffer the ordeal I did in coming to this stage,” Ajmal said at the launch.

The academy, spread over eight acres (3.2 hectares) at Faisalabad's Agriculture University, will cost around 70 million rupees ($720,000) to set up, with an initial 30 million rupees provided by Ajmal himself.

The Pakistan government has also donated 10 million rupees.

“I am thankful to the prime minister for his financial help and hope that the government and affluent people of the country will help me more,” Ajmal said.

“I will also go house-to-house for donations.”

Ajmal has so far taken 122 Test and 117 one-day wickets, and is also the highest wicket-taker in Twenty20 cricket with 71.

Pakistan is rich in natural cricketing talent but hundreds of young people fail to make the grade due to lack of facilities in a country marred by poor governance and Islamist militant attacks.

The Pakistan Cricket Board lauched its own cricket academy in 2000 in the eastern city of Lahore and also has regional academies in the cities of Karachi, Rawalpindi and Peshawar.

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Comments (29)

January 11, 2013 9:35 am
i wonder how much DAWN receives from its foreign donators every time it publishes these distorted ideas "Pakistan is rich in natural cricketing talent but hundreds of young people fail to make the grade due to lack of facilities in a country marred by poor governance and Islamist militant attacks."....its same policy followed by western media...blame everything on way or the other..
January 11, 2013 4:25 am
Saeed Ajmal by setting up such a school, you have shown that you truly are 'Ajmal' at heart. You are Pakistan's hero and I salute you!
January 11, 2013 1:25 am
Great bowler, great initiative. Pampered Indian cricketers - learn something!
Kamran Khan
January 11, 2013 8:23 am
we shud support...
January 10, 2013 5:47 pm
I wish all the best to Saeed Ajmal
January 11, 2013 6:01 am
Nice Step Ajmal All the best
January 11, 2013 5:44 am
Good gesture. desire for nation building. i agree, but go for diverse talent and not just cricket (or only bowling). BTW, in the contemporary economic world, nothing can sustain without user fees. Trust me, you need to generate some form of revenue, otherwise the passion (joshh) will fizzle out soon. How about, at least charging the cost as fees and let the bright and talented (on merit) get scholarship. You may ask many big national business guys to provide these scholarship in their name. Such as Saeed Ajmal scholarship. Just an idea!!
January 10, 2013 5:41 pm
Do it online aswell and in UK, Middle East, USA. Everyone will help......
January 10, 2013 4:16 pm
Excellent work Saeed Ajmal!!!! This is exactly what Pakistan Cricket needs.
January 10, 2013 5:22 pm
Bravo Ajmal!
Michael Malcolm
January 10, 2013 9:58 pm
There are no words to praise such a person who is sacrificing his own funds for the good talent promotion in the country free of cost. I am 100% sure the honest lover of cricket will donate without hesitation. Excellent example set.God Bless you Ajmal and give you more success as you will give to others.
January 10, 2013 4:46 pm
very honest personality
January 10, 2013 4:43 pm
Excellent initiative, masha'Allah... wish someone takes fund donations online, so that we overseas pakistanis can also contribute w/o issues...
January 10, 2013 4:41 pm
Great job Mr Ajmal , we need more people like you .
January 11, 2013 12:09 am
FC Barcelona, one of the world's top soccer teams has a complete turn-key program where the club takes youngsters, provides them top class education and prepares them to be responsible citizens of the world while training them to be world class soccer players. Messi and others are all graduates of the program. Hopefully, Saeed Ajmal can organize something similar.
January 10, 2013 7:29 pm
@ Ajmal make them scientists ... you need great economists, great scientists... cricket is your innate talent , it will naturally come
Capt C M Khan
January 10, 2013 7:31 pm
Good dear Ajmal....Please publish your bank account I promise myself and other Pakistanis will support you. Great work Pakistan needs dedicated hard working persons like you. I am sure Imran Khan will support you as well.
Shabbir Ali
January 10, 2013 2:06 pm
Great stuff. Wish you all the best Saeed Ajmal!
January 10, 2013 7:03 pm
Very well done Mr Ajmal.
Avishek Roy
January 10, 2013 7:06 pm
Great bowler..great move..
January 10, 2013 2:27 pm
Great spinner! Lucky to have you.
January 10, 2013 2:36 pm
Wishing you all the success in your endeavors.
January 11, 2013 7:02 am
Donations for Cricket Academy ?? Our Country people need donations for far greater purpose than cricket academy.
January 10, 2013 2:41 pm
feed them.. educate them... give them medicine... then comes bat and ball dear Ajmal... may Allah guide us all... :/
True Indian
January 10, 2013 2:48 pm
Appreciable work....
January 10, 2013 3:26 pm
I wish you all the best Saeed. I hope this is not you launching pad into plitics.
January 10, 2013 3:29 pm
Bravo !! Saeed Ajmal seems to be a genuine person and human being both on and off the field. Kudos and my best wishes for his success.
January 10, 2013 6:09 pm
Best of luck to you Ajmal. I hope people who can afford to, make donations to your cause.
H Chaudhry
January 10, 2013 6:09 pm
Great work Ajmal. We need positive role models.
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