Pakistan v Sri Lanka 2013-14 January 14, 2014

Ajmal wants more spin in Sharjah


After listless performances in the first two Tests in the UAE, Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal has called for pitches that provide more support for spinners. He rued the lack of help from the surfaces in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, after managing only five wickets in those two matches but has vowed to bounce back in the Sharjah Test.

He was wicketless in the second innings of the first Test for 49 overs, conceding 115 runs, and had to wait another 28.2 overs in Dubai to take his first wicket, making the stretch 77.2 overs. In a 32-Test career, Ajmal has never had to wait as long for a wicket: his previous longest wait was 41.1 overs, in the first innings against England at Lord's in 2010 and he ended with figures of 2 for 126 from 44 overs.

"I have been playing in Dubai for the last six years, but haven't seen such a bad response here," Ajmal said in Sharjah. "The ball used to turn in Dubai during the previous matches that we played, but this wicket was good for fast bowlers and was not supporting the spinners. I did a lot of hard work but couldn't get a result, but I have never been disappointed with my cricket and will try to perform."

The PCB had flown their own curator to the UAE along with Intikhab Alam to help the local curators prepare the pitches in UAE for the series but Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said the tracks are not the type they wanted for the series. For Sharjah there are two pitches being prepared, and Ajmal suggested the tracks will be batsmen friendly.

Since May 2011, Ajmal has bowled 1931.3 overs - the most by any bowler in international cricket during the span - but isn't worried about the workload. "We don't play that much Test cricket there's no workload," he said. "I was rested for Afghanistan match, I did rest in South Africa, I was rested during the series against the West Indies so whenever team management gives me rest I do get and whenever they think I should play I am completely positive with this.

"No there's no pressure either, it's cricket and there are ups and downs," he insisted. "I don't feel that if the performance is not good in the last two matches I should be disappointed, I am doing the hard work and will bounce back. The ball isn't spinning and they are playing cautiously, if I had got some spin the result would have been different, they are relaxed while facing me and keep the bat inside and that's why they are playing me well."

When asked a good bowler is always a good bowler, regardless of any sort pitch is, he replied: "The wicket was very slow and whatever abilities I had used it, but I didn't get any support even on day five. The ball didn't spin but yes it shouldn't be a problem and I am not disappointed, I always play positively and inshallah I will do better."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • siddhartha on January 16, 2014, 6:16 GMT

    there is no doubt that Ajmal is far better than Ashwin or Herath. His variety is unmatchable at the moment.Ashwin is good only when when curator prepare rank turners.Even then he fails against classy batting(like Cook and KP demolished him).Regarding Kumble- he is the greatest match winner in test cricket for India.

    There is no doubt that Ajmal is great bowler. Still i think Warne and Murali were a class apart. Kumble is greatest after Warne and Murali in my honest opinion.

  • Dummy4 on January 16, 2014, 6:05 GMT

    well well well. if MSD or Ashwin had said the same thing, all hell would have broken loose!! World's best spinner asking for more assistance from pitch? :P Hmm..

  • siddhartha on January 16, 2014, 3:04 GMT

    @usman ghani

    have you checked Warne's record in Asian subcontinent.

    In Lanka 48 wickets in 9 tests at average 20 UAE 16 wickets in 2 tests with average 9 in Pakistan 18 wickets in 3 matches average 28 In India 34 wickets in 9 matches average 43

    true he failed in India . But still he has 127 wickets in Asia (average 25 SR 52) which are great numbers.

    ON the other hand Murali always failed in Austrlia and his record was mediocre at best in India.

    p.s-Ajmals average in Asia is 27 and SR -62 still far behind Warne even in Asian conditions

  • asad on January 15, 2014, 21:56 GMT

    I'm not sure why a lot of people are criticizing Ajmal when every team prepares pitches according to their strengths (the whole point of a home advantage). Although it is quite sad that now Pakistan's strength is spin when before they were always one of the best fast bowling nations. Yes Herath did get wickets on that same pitch but you also need to take into account that our batting is just horrible (if you don't believe me then just remember that Tahir singlehandedly won the test for SA against us). In the test tomorrow Herath and Ajmal will probably run through each others line ups.

  • Dummy4 on January 15, 2014, 20:27 GMT

    @Vinod Tommy - Agreed with current state of pakistani batting - but its amazing to see that India being a leading spin friendly country could never produce better spinners than pakistanis - Abdul Qadir, Saqlain and now Ajmal - Kumle was good but not bette rthan his contemporaries - anyways its high time for indian to ponder when their leading spinner Ashwin goes toothless against SA - remember AJmal has plus 5 wkts per match average against SA on home and away.

  • Dummy4 on January 15, 2014, 20:05 GMT

    Whereas Herath remains an averag ebowler who took wickets not because of his caliber but form and skill of pakistani batsmen - Ajmal still is the best spinne rin the world - Dale Steyn went wicketless for 60 overs on a southafrican track .. does that make him go down of his class? ??

  • Dummy4 on January 15, 2014, 20:01 GMT

    Shane warne took 30 percent of his wickets against a fragile and the most weakest batting line against the spin - England, he was a great bowler but can not be better than Murali , who always produced results be it any team or any ground - i have seen Warne failing against asian teams in asia - my top spin bowler is Murali

  • vinod on January 15, 2014, 19:38 GMT

    what a covering of afraid of loss of the test series ? In your own den u din't won. pakistan is not good test playing nation, you loss the chance in the first test. ajmal spin not working on subcontinent players like india, srilanka,bangladesh. they played spin very well

  • Reza on January 15, 2014, 16:40 GMT


    Good point but remember spin alone doesn't get hundreds of wickets it's the inclusion of bounce which turns the game.

  • Jagan on January 15, 2014, 16:39 GMT

    Did I hear this correct? Wow what a turnaround. Didn't pak supporters say they have the best pace attack in the sub continent and they prefer GREEEEEEEEEEN tops!!! Why on earth are requesting spinning pitch??

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