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