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Sharjeel, Latif's loss no big deal for Islamabad United: Ajmal

Updated 19 Feb 2018


Spin legend Saeed Ajmal on Wednesday dismissed the notion that the absence of banned cricketers Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif would be greatly felt by Islamabad United in the 2018 Pakistan Super League.

Sharjeel was one of the stars of the tournament's inaugural edition in 2016, which Islamabad United won, while Latif was his teammate — both at the franchise and international levels.

The duo was handed multiple-year bans by a Pakistan Cricket Board-appointed tribunal last year after being found guilty in a spot-fixing scandal that rocked the nation in the first week of the 2017 tournament.

A genuine contender for the title, Islamabad never truly recovered from losing two of its most important batsmen so early in the tournament and surrendered the title they had won the previous year.

While that may have been then, Ajmal, who is the Islamabad-based franchise's spin bowling coach, says his side has since moved on.

"The absence of Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif will absolutely not be felt," Ajmal told newsmen at a franchise event on Wednesday.

He, however, refrained from discussing the matter any further, saying: "I don't want to talk about what they did."

Ajmal appeared to back United for the PSL 2018 title, reminding the fans that despite the crisis it endured "Islamabad United is the winner of one edition and was a semi-finalist in the other."

One of the world's premier spin bowlers in his heyday, Ajmal has moved into coaching since retiring from cricket last year. He says his new target is to excel in his post-retirement career.

"My performance as a cricketer is in front of everyone," he said. "Now I want to make a name for myself in coaching."