Everyone has by now heard of the Saeed Ajmal ban. Yes, even my first reaction was ‘Oh! Common! Is this all that the BCCI is doing?!’ They are scared of a challenge.
But then I thought, maybe there is an actual issue. There are plenty of off-spinners called for their action; even Ajmal was a few years back.
No doubt this is a big blow to the Pakistan cricket team because Saeed Ajmal is not just the best bowler in the team, but has consistently been one of the top bowlers in all three formats of the game for years now.
However, in my opinion, it is also very possible that the new blood that comes in and the un-scrutinized attack that he brings to the team could be a blessing in disguise.
In today’s cricket, every bowler’s action is studied and put under the microscope by the other teams; making it even more difficult to be successful. In this situation having a new bowler who is groomed to attack could be the key to our success.
The pessimists will groan and say it’s not possible and that now the world cup is a failed expedition. To them I would like to point out the situation we were in during the ’92 world cup. No one could have predicted the way we scraped through to the next round and then ended up winning the cup.
It’s all about the mindset that you have in the field. That’s all that needs changing and even a fresh team can get us through.
Another thing is that Ajmal is 36 years old. How long were we supposed to rely on him anyway?
We have seen teams keep up their pace even when their stars take a bow. Case in point is Shane Warne’s retirement and Muralitharan saying good bye.
I am sure Pakistan can find a match winning spinner to fill Ajmal’s talented shoes. I know it’s not an easy task to replace such a brilliant bowler but it has to be done. There is no reason to cry over spilt milk.
Waqar Younis’s approach to this issue is very good, in my opinion. He prefers a younger replacement spinner. ‘Someone who can serve Pakistan cricket for a long time,’ as he says.
So I say we all need to be positive. And it is not as if Ajmal can’t come back. The board has appointed Saqlain Mushtaq to rehabilitate Ajmal and if both of them can work some magic, Ajmal can be back whenever he wants. The question however will remain, will Ajmal be as effective on his return?
As for Ajmal’s point of view, he seems very positive about his return. This is what he had to say to reporters in Faislabad. ‘I am positive about this and not worried because I believe I can make the World Cup. They are yet to consider my medical reports and once they do it I am sure there shouldn’t be any problem. If one has a medical problem then what can he do? So I am 100% positive and hoping for the best.’
I do hope that he is right and that he is available for the world cup. But I will not be as disappointed as others even if doesn’t make it!