Ajmal not keen on developing new variations
Saeed Ajmal is known for his straight talk and has a tendency to make big, carefree declarations at press conferences. On Saturday though, which was the last day of Pakistan's preparatory camp in Lahore, he was rather cautious while fielding the media's questions. On the tour of Sri Lanka, he said, he will look to keep things 'simple'.
Does he have another new delivery to unveil, following the 'teesra' that he dished out against England in the UAE earlier this year? "There is no need to introduce any new delivery, let us keep things simple," Ajmal said. "Mastering any new delivery takes time and a lot of work is involved in it. With more varieties, more complications are created [for the bowler]. So I would like to just take control of my conventional spin, which is giving me results."
For now, Ajmal said, he is focussing on just bowling at his best and displacing South Africa's Dale Steyn as the world's No. 1 Test bowler. "Presently my focus is to win the series [in Sri Lanka] for Pakistan. The goal is to archive the No. 1 spot [on the rankings], for that I am putting in a lot of hard work."
Ajmal did not have much of an impact the previous time Pakistan played in Sri Lanka, as the visitors went on to lose both the Tests and ODIs. This time, Ajmal is looking to compensate for that below-par showing. "Things are going in my way [recently], I will try to extend my recent form. I am ready to take on the Sri Lanka challenge once again."
"My body is fully fit and ready to cope the heat [in Sri Lanka], and I know onus will be on the spinners. We[spinners] have to bowl more overs than the fast bowlers because of the heat. But I think we have fast bowlers who can provide a breakthrough even in shorter spells, and they will be equally important. [Abdur] Rehman I make a good pair, and we are ready to bowl longer spells."
While wary of the likes of Thilan Samaraweera and Kumar Sangakkara, Ajmal said Pakistan is quite confident. "We have been practicing assuming that we will be playing on batting [batsmen-friendly] pitches there. We have been doing well for quite a long time now, so I don't think plans will be difficult for us to execute. They have got some good batsman like Sanga and Samaraweera, who had scored runs against us the last time in the UAE, but we still produced good results against them."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent