Spin maestro Saeed Ajmal rejects PCB’s farewell offer

September 20, 2016


“I will keep on playing domestic cricket,” says Ajmal.  — AFP/File
“I will keep on playing domestic cricket,” says Ajmal. — AFP/File

KARACHI: Spin maestro Saeed Ajmal has rejected the Pakistan Cricket Board’s offer of a “fitting send-off”.

“I have no intention to quit one-day or Twenty20 cricket at the moment,” the 38-year-old spinner told Dawn on Tuesday. “I have worked really hard to stage a comeback and my performance in the National T20 Cup reflects that.”

PCB executive committee chairman Najam Sethi on Saturday tweeted from England, where he is on vacation, that Shahid Afridi along with Ajmal will be given fitting send-offs in a charity match.

Read: Pakistan cricket’s struggling next generation worries Misbah

Ajmal was the highest wicket-taker in the national competition, where he took 20 wickets in nine matches at an economy of 6.28. He averaged 11 during the tournament, giving away 220 runs in 35 overs that he bowled throughout.

“I have proved my fitness in the National T20 Cup. I should be given a chance. If I fail to perform, I will walk away myself,” Ajmal, who has represented Pakistan in 35 Tests and 113 one-day internationals, said.

“The Board doesn’t have a decent off-spinner in its entire domestic structure.”

Read: Time on the sidelines will shatter Ajmal’s confidence, says Miandad

The Faisalabad-born spinner, who mastered the art of doosra, said the national selectors had asked him to work on his fitness and performance in the domestic circuit.

“I have proved my form and fitness. I am not quitting and will keep on playing domestic cricket,” he said. “I have played a key role in so many victories; the Board should give me a chance like the West Indies are giving to Sunil Naraine.”

Meanwhile, Afridi’s dream of being accorded a graceful retirement from international cricket, too, has been abruptly put on a backburner, after he was overlooked for the 15-member Pakistan squad for West Indies Twenty20s, starting from September 23.

Read: Afridi was made T20 captain after retirement assurance, says Shaharyar

By some media accounts, the flamboyant all-rounder wanted the Board to accord him a “graceful exit”. But the national selection committee, headed by Inzamam-ul-Haq, decided against including him in the squad.

Afridi, however, quashed such reports.

“This is completely incorrect. If I really wanted to leave, I would have left after the World Twenty20 but I did not want to go that way. Having played for so many years, I have earned the right to leave the game in a good way,” he said.