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‘I have inspired in the land of fast bowlers’

April 18, 2012

SaeedAjmalAFP670
"I think I have inspired a lot of youngsters to play the game." -Photo by AFP

Pakistan’s off-spinner, Saeed Ajmal, vows to pass on his skills to the next generation to ensure continuity of quality spinners for the nation when he retires.

The top-ranked spinner in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings in both Tests and One Day International (ODI) plans to do so by launching a cricket academy next year in his city Faisalabad.

“I hope by the time I am ready to walk out, another Ajmal would be ready to take my place,” Ajmal told ESPNcricinfo.

“A spin bowler normally does not inspire kids as compared to a fast bowler who creates an instant impact with the youngsters who want to play cricket. But I think I have inspired a lot of youngsters to play the game,” he added.

Ajmal acknowledged that his age may only allow him a few more years in the cricket arena. But the 34-year-old knows another key factor that would keep him in the game for at least a few more years.

“It's also a matter of fitness that can actually extend a player's life. I am optimistic that I can play at least till the 2015 World Cup before calling my time from the game,” he said.

Although Ajmal made a late entry into international cricket at the age of 30, he has earned a reputation for being one of the best spinners in the world. Ajmal didn't play his first Test till he was almost 32 but has since picked up 107 wickets in 20 Tests.