'Not depending on Ajmal alone' - Hafeez
Pakistan will not be depending on Saeed Ajmal alone during the three-match Twenty20 series against Australia, their captain Mohammad Hafeez has said. The series starts in Dubai on Wednesday with Australia having won the ODI series 2-1.
"Ajmal is a world-class bowler but we are not depending on him alone,"Hafeez told AFP. "I think other bowlers must support him from the other end."
Allrounder Abdul Razzaq and batsmen Yasir Arafat and Imran Nazir will return to the side, as will fast bowlers Umar Gul and Mohammad Sami to lead the attack and help Ajmal.
Ajmal troubled the Australian batsmen, taking ten of the 22 Australian wickets to fall in the series, but Australia exploited the other bowlers to win from tricky positions in the first and third matches.
"It's disappointing not to win the one-day series but we have got a good Twenty20 side and I am confident that we can beat Australia," Hafeez said.
Australia rode on the performances of captain Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey, and newcomer Glenn Maxwell scored a vital half-century in the decider. Maxwell, who played Ajmal intelligently, also made crucial contributions of 28 and 38 in the previous two games.
"Glenn was someone [coach] Mickey Arthur and I pushed really hard for (at selection) just because of the X-factor and the versatility that he has," Australia's T20I captain George Bailey said.
The side will see the return of Shane Watson, who is returning from a calf-injury he suffered in the ODI series against England, Ben Hilfenhaus, Pat Cummins and Clint McKay. "There'll be a nice injection of some energy and enthusiasm into the group. We'll try to find a settled lineup as quickly as possible, particularly with the batting. These will be really important games against Pakistan," Bailey said.
The games will also be important as they serve as a build-up to the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka. Pakistan won the tournament in 2009 after losing the in the final two years previously, and Australia were runners-up last time. The only time Pakistan couldn't reach the final of the tournament was in the West Indies in 2010, when Mike Hussey smashed 60 off 24 balls, including 23 runs from the final over off Saeed Ajmal, to snatch the game from Pakistan's hands in the chase.