After wreaking havoc against England at the start of the year, Pakistan’s wily off-spinner Saeed Ajmal is now aiming to flatten Sri Lanka on next month’s tour.
Ajmal, the top Test and One-Day International (ODI) spinner in the world, bagged 18 wickets against Sri Lanka in the Test series that took place late last year in the UAE and wants to emulate his performance against England.
His show in Pakistan’s 1-0 Test-series win over Sri Lanka earned him the man-of-the-series award. However, it is believed that his influence may be limited during the forthcoming series due to Sri Lanka batsmen’s increased comfort-level at home. But Ajmal has remained determined as ever.
“They will definitely enjoy home advantage,” Ajmal told The Express Tribune. “But as far as playing in Sri Lanka is concerned, we’re also aware of the conditions as we have played a lot in the country and there should be no major issues. I also know that Sri Lankan batsmen read spin better than England’s. But I did well against Sri Lanka in the UAE and I’m confident that I can repeat my performance. It all depends on how you control the batsmen and I believe I am good at it. They’re good but so am I.”
‘No new delivery’
Meanwhile, Ajmal said he was working hard at perfecting the spin arsenal he possesses already.
“There’s no new delivery in my plan. I’m focusing on perfecting the deliveries which I already have like the doosra and teesra. I take every assignment very seriously and I work very hard. I’m doing the same for this series and I’m hopeful that it will pay back.”
Pakistan play two Twenty20s before five ODIs and three Tests from June 1 to July 12.
‘Skipped county stint to focus on Australia series’
Ajmal refused a second stint with English county side Worcestershire this season despite being free to play a few games in the Friends Life T20 campaign.
He turned down the offer altogether, however, even though there is a month’s break between the Sri Lanka and Australia series in August.
“I gave it a thought but I want to focus on the series against Australia which is another major assignment. After a lengthy Sri Lanka tour, I will rest before starting training for the Australia series. I don’t want to be exhausted because the matches against Australia will be our last before the ICC World Twenty20.”
Pakistan are expected to play their ‘home’ series in Sri Lanka which will see them play five ODIs and three Twenty20s against Australia from the second week of August.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2012.