Reproach, outbursts, tantrums and other displays of anger still wreath Pakistan’s abysmal failure at the ICC Champions Trophy, but Saeed Ajmal attempts to assuage charged emotions by promising an improved show by the team in their upcoming international assignments.
Pakistan finished bottom in the eight-nation event after losing all their three group matches against West Indies, South Africa and India.
The results prompted a widespread belief that they had more to do with the team’s underperformance in batting rather than an outstanding show from the opposing sides. Calls for a major overhaul followed almost immediately.
Spin maestro Ajmal admitted the team had failed, but disagreed with the notion that the future was bleak.
“We are equally disheartened like all of the team’s supporters,” Ajmal told The Express Tribune.
“It’s not that the team didn’t try. Every player gave his best to lift the side. The conditions were very difficult and unfortunately we just didn’t click. On the other hand, the teams that adapted well achieved good results in the tournament.
“We will learn from our mistakes and will use our utmost potential to give good results to the nation. Good and bad days are a part of cricket and I am hopeful we will overcome this phase as each player wants to compensate for the failure. I am confident that the team will bounce back.”
‘West Indies tour will be tough’
The spin genius, who could take only four wickets from his 25 overs in the Champions Trophy, said he was working hard for next month’s tour of the West Indies that includes five One-Day Internationals and a couple of Twenty20 internationals.
“I’ve already started practicing in the nets. I am also working on my fitness and hopefully I will give an improved show against the West Indies.
“It will be a tough tour because they are a very good limited-overs side. They possess hard-hitting batsmen, including Chris Gayle, which will be a challenge for me as a spinner and I am looking forward to it.”
Ajmal’s philanthropy in full swing
Apart from training for the upcoming assignment, Ajmal said he was also working to finalise the project of his elite academy scheme in Faisalabad by the end of this year.
Ajmal launched the first phase of his multi-facility academy spread over 18 acres of land in January. The spinner provided Rs10 million from his own pocket for the Rs70 million-project.
“I want to start it by this November and the work is on track. Recently, I have also reserved a portion of the academy for disabled cricketers who are without proper support. They will be free to use all the facilities of the academy.”
The academy includes a wide range of facilities, including an indoor and outdoor practice school, lodgings and a floodlit ground.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2013.
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