Pakistan news January 11, 2013

Ajmal helps fund cricket academy

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Saeed Ajmal, the Pakistan offspinner, has started his own elite academy scheme at the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad. The R70 million ($720,000 approx) multi-facility academy will be spread over 18 acres of land and will be completed in two years' time, in three phases of construction.

Ajmal has provided R10 million ($102,000 approx) of his own money to the academy, with the government and major industry promising to further contribute to its funding. The lucrative project will include an indoor and outdoor practice school, lodging facility, swimming pool and a floodlit ground.

Ajmal, speaking at the launch of the first phase, said he wanted to help develop the next generation of cricketers, in particular spinners, for Pakistan. "I have experienced tough days early in my career but with this facility nobody will have to go through a difficult time," Ajmal said. "I want to groom the enormous talent in the country without fee. I don't want the players to suffer the ordeal I did in coming to this stage."

Ajmal, 35, made a relatively late entry into international cricket, at the age of 30. He started in Tests when he was almost 32 and so far has played 23 Test matches, taking 122 wickets at 27.09. He also has 117 one-day wickets and is the highest wicket-taker in Twenty20 internationals, with 71. Ajmal said he wanted to give "youngsters an opportunity to follow in my footsteps".

Cricket may be the most popular game in Pakistan but there is a lack of modern facilities at the grassroots level. The PCB owns the national academy and regional academies around the country but they are sanctioned only for the use of national and domestic cricketers. Club cricket is the main source of new cricketers but they rely on meagre facilities.

"The idea is to find the talent and give them all the necessary to groom [their skills]," Ajmal said. "They will be paid for their livelihood and we will help develop those who have been marginalised and unable to thrive for many reasons."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Aoun786 on January 13, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    I had the opportunity to face Saeed during nets practice of Govt College Faisalabad. I faced 10 balls from him and was bowled on 5. only middle 1 and he appreciated that.with all the tiime he was bamboozling me, he was like "unlucky". u dont hear tht from a bowler. " mind u , I was a reasonable batsman. Such a great guy and very down to earth. I am even more happy that he is developing this in UAF. I lived there for 18 years of my life before moving to Australia. Well Done Saeed and Thank you.

  • malepas on January 11, 2013, 11:45 GMT

    Very noble, generous and great gesture from a really true gentleman of the game and a great spinner in the world. He is creating a legacy and this would go a long way to prepare the next generation of cricketers in Pakistan. Well Done Ajmal

  • agent001 on January 14, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    Let's not forget the noble cause initiated by other great cricketers especially Imran Khan in setting up the Cancer hospital in Lahore. Well done Saeed Ajmal. Others like Wasem Akram , Waqar Younis , Maindad, Inzi and company should also come forward and repay the country which gave them the greatness. Getting paid thru IPL and serving as broadcaster only confines the riches to themselves and does not spread the wealth or the experience to the masses. Again, congratulations to Saeed Ajmal on this noble cause.

  • on January 13, 2013, 1:34 GMT

    Waseem Akram bhai, as much as a fan of yours I am, this is the way to repay your country. Please make an academy and teach the youngsters at all levels this art. I adore Ajmal is this respect.

  • on January 12, 2013, 19:02 GMT

    Saeed Ajmal, May Allah give you so much more success in life than you already have. You are a true Pakistani. showing your generosity in this manner. May Allah protect you. We all LOVE and ADORE you.

  • ahsansiddiqui15 on January 12, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    Guy never seizes to amaze me. May Allah, the people and Govt. of Pakistan help him in this very noble cause. Pakistan need a lot more people like Saeed Ajmal.

  • on January 12, 2013, 15:21 GMT

    That a great man can do! He progressed but didn't forget his past. Hats off you great gentleman. Other great need to learn from him. Wasim and Tendulkar espacially! Your homeland gave you the name now be responsible to return!

  • on January 12, 2013, 13:35 GMT

    Good work by a great cricketer. Yes a person who suffers, can feel others problems. We need not only cricketer but a cricketer with humanity. Businessmen who are greedy for money have made our indian cricketers greedy and resulted into only money oriented profession and politics even among the players.

  • on January 12, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    Hats off Ajaml, great gesture and novel thinking that people from poor background badly needs :)

  • Taha_Farrukh on January 12, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    Well done Saeed Ajmal....u have done what many senior cricketers unable to do.... they retire after playing 23 years in international cricket and then make agreement with broadcasters for making money but they can't spend money or make a plan to promote cricket in their own country even....well done and keep it up saeed u deserve for no 1 cricketer and no 1 as human as well.....

  • Aoun786 on January 13, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    I had the opportunity to face Saeed during nets practice of Govt College Faisalabad. I faced 10 balls from him and was bowled on 5. only middle 1 and he appreciated that.with all the tiime he was bamboozling me, he was like "unlucky". u dont hear tht from a bowler. " mind u , I was a reasonable batsman. Such a great guy and very down to earth. I am even more happy that he is developing this in UAF. I lived there for 18 years of my life before moving to Australia. Well Done Saeed and Thank you.

  • malepas on January 11, 2013, 11:45 GMT

    Very noble, generous and great gesture from a really true gentleman of the game and a great spinner in the world. He is creating a legacy and this would go a long way to prepare the next generation of cricketers in Pakistan. Well Done Ajmal

  • agent001 on January 14, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    Let's not forget the noble cause initiated by other great cricketers especially Imran Khan in setting up the Cancer hospital in Lahore. Well done Saeed Ajmal. Others like Wasem Akram , Waqar Younis , Maindad, Inzi and company should also come forward and repay the country which gave them the greatness. Getting paid thru IPL and serving as broadcaster only confines the riches to themselves and does not spread the wealth or the experience to the masses. Again, congratulations to Saeed Ajmal on this noble cause.

  • on January 13, 2013, 1:34 GMT

    Waseem Akram bhai, as much as a fan of yours I am, this is the way to repay your country. Please make an academy and teach the youngsters at all levels this art. I adore Ajmal is this respect.

  • on January 12, 2013, 19:02 GMT

    Saeed Ajmal, May Allah give you so much more success in life than you already have. You are a true Pakistani. showing your generosity in this manner. May Allah protect you. We all LOVE and ADORE you.

  • ahsansiddiqui15 on January 12, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    Guy never seizes to amaze me. May Allah, the people and Govt. of Pakistan help him in this very noble cause. Pakistan need a lot more people like Saeed Ajmal.

  • on January 12, 2013, 15:21 GMT

    That a great man can do! He progressed but didn't forget his past. Hats off you great gentleman. Other great need to learn from him. Wasim and Tendulkar espacially! Your homeland gave you the name now be responsible to return!

  • on January 12, 2013, 13:35 GMT

    Good work by a great cricketer. Yes a person who suffers, can feel others problems. We need not only cricketer but a cricketer with humanity. Businessmen who are greedy for money have made our indian cricketers greedy and resulted into only money oriented profession and politics even among the players.

  • on January 12, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    Hats off Ajaml, great gesture and novel thinking that people from poor background badly needs :)

  • Taha_Farrukh on January 12, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    Well done Saeed Ajmal....u have done what many senior cricketers unable to do.... they retire after playing 23 years in international cricket and then make agreement with broadcasters for making money but they can't spend money or make a plan to promote cricket in their own country even....well done and keep it up saeed u deserve for no 1 cricketer and no 1 as human as well.....

  • on January 12, 2013, 10:59 GMT

    He is the chosen one,by the almighty .Thats the end of the story.

  • KiwiRocker- on January 12, 2013, 4:19 GMT

    What a wonderful idea and gesture by a great bowler and even better human being. I recall seeing Saeed Ajmal on TV interview once and he spoke about death of his father. He had tear in his eyes. That showed how much struggle this man had done to reach where he is now. His gentless, humble manner and smile is infectious. He simply bowls and let cricket ball do all the talk. Saeed Ajmal made world cricket's most over rated batsman Tendulya look clueless number of times however he never indulged in any word warfare. The creation of academy for Pakistani players is such a logical idea in a country that is so full of talent. Charity begins at home and Saeed Ajmal shows it. Inzemam Ul Haq building a hospital, Imran Khan building a free cancer Hospital and Saeed Ajmal doing this act are fine examples of sportsmen having a enduring legacy. I wish greedy record collectors like Tendulya could learn from such sportsmen! Sponsor endorsements will be forgotten but an academy will always be there!

  • Cricket_Man on January 12, 2013, 4:11 GMT

    Love you Saeed Ajmal! You are a true hero, love you!

  • on January 12, 2013, 3:55 GMT

    this is a truly amazing decision by ajmal. respect.

  • Raja11218 on January 12, 2013, 2:26 GMT

    Well done. A great player.

  • on January 12, 2013, 1:32 GMT

    May Allah All Mighty bless you with more success (Ameen). Name it "teesra" academy :)

  • challagalla on January 12, 2013, 0:37 GMT

    Take a bow Ajmal. I only hope that PCB, industrialists and the government are equally generous in supporting this laudable venture. The key word is its free. Pakistan and world cricket needs characters like Ajmal.

  • Lahori92 on January 11, 2013, 22:34 GMT

    I just hope there are more cricketers like this great human being. He is putting something back into the game he loves, it goes to show you he cares more about cricket then anything else.

  • Syed_imran_abbas on January 11, 2013, 21:58 GMT

    Hatts off to Ajmal "The Majician".. I wish People like Wasim and Waqar can learn something from this effort. I wish him the very best. Please make a Charity bank account for it and i am sure we will all contribute to your cause. name your acadmey "Dosra" (a suggestion)

  • FRRR on January 11, 2013, 21:15 GMT

    He has proved that He is not only one of the best spinners (the best mystery spinner) of all times, but also a generous person. Moreover, he is doing something to enhance the game of cricket, which very few do.

  • liaqathussain on January 11, 2013, 18:46 GMT

    great work,, wish pcb also invested in other parts of pak, ie quetta and unearth the talent there,

    wake up pcb

  • on January 11, 2013, 18:42 GMT

    Amazing! It's great to find out that without the funds of the big leagues and endorsements - he's so generously shelled out the money for this academy. Just goes on to show that he's not just one of the best spinners of our times but also a wonderful person. Hats off.

  • on January 11, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    We are proud to have you as great bowler and now the gesture you are showing for such a great cause is admirable and will lead to a better result for Pakistan Cricket and all those who wanted to play but can't manage due to lack of resources.

    Heads off to you

  • mostafatawfiq on January 11, 2013, 17:40 GMT

    Respect! Respect! One of the most humble and kind hearted cricketers of the modern era!

  • SarfBD on January 11, 2013, 17:22 GMT

    Salute to Ajmal. I was a big fan of the bowler Ajmal. Now I am a big fan of a great man and spirited cricketer. You might be unlucky not to have enough time to make the full use of your talent, but surely you are doing the best thing possible....

  • on January 11, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    that is something great to read that Saeed Ajmal, the best spinner in the world, has decided to develop an academy which is "fee" free.... go on...! wel done...! u'll b highly appreciated by many......

  • Mohammad_Imran on January 11, 2013, 16:56 GMT

    A fantastic bowler, an even better person!

    Thanks for a very thoughtful & generous gift to Pakistan cricket.

    We're proud of you.

  • on January 11, 2013, 16:32 GMT

    Wow .. Glad to hear ... Well Done Saeed Ajmal, we proud of you wish you all the Best ..

  • on January 11, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    nice work man :). i'm really proud of u.

  • getsetgopk on January 11, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    ahh Ajmal is such a nice fella, using his own hard earned bucks to help out fellow struggling cricketers is very noble and commendable thing, people with kind of attitude to life never fail, a humble being, wish him all the best, may your legend live for ever!

  • wrenx on January 11, 2013, 15:28 GMT

    This is fantastic to see, someone who wants to give back to the game, even after he's given so much already on the field. Much to applaud, supporting developing cricket in a country without the massive resources of England, India and Australia

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on January 11, 2013, 15:26 GMT

    Whaddaguy!!! WHADDAPLAYAA!!!

  • Zoey_95 on January 11, 2013, 15:00 GMT

    Very generous and thoughtful of the great and legendary spinner. Apart from amusing everyone with his comical, friendly and polite nature, he has also set up a great example for other Pakistani cricketers, both former and current, of true patriotism and devotion to the nation in the form of the invaluable services to the future stars and cricket of Pakistan. For him, its surely the time to pay back the respect which he has received from his admirers and Pakistan!

  • rohan34mca on January 11, 2013, 14:45 GMT

    That is indeed a Great gesture! Explains why Pak keeps on producing the best bowlers..! Way to go..

  • afy147 on January 11, 2013, 14:39 GMT

    What a great role model, exactly what Pakistan needs, shows how wise and mature he is. Long may it continue

  • xylofon on January 11, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    as if the teesra wasnt enough ; )

    good stuff mr ajmal!

  • on January 11, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    Ah ha, all the way, the great ajmaaal , what a nice human Mr. Ajmaal is ,respect for this gesture to help poor players in their intial struggle, only genius players can do such kind of activities , no doubt you are one of the best spinner wor'dckt. has produced ,God bless you sir. Cheers from J & k...

  • on January 11, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    Thats what you can expect from really a very humble man. You are a living legend sir

  • davidatlas999 on January 11, 2013, 12:37 GMT

    great he is doing really good in the team and also he is a very nice human a great player and yes a good idea and we are proud sir on you.

  • iBilal on January 11, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    What a gentleman. There are some cricketers who spend their money on mutli-million dollar mansions... This good sir over here has spent that on a noble cause. My great respects to all such cricketers... Imran Khan, McGrath and Ajmal

  • imsharoon on January 11, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    love you. only great players can do this kind of activity and he is still playing.

  • HawksEyeFocused on January 11, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    Great step by the great and best spinner of the current cricket!!!

  • on January 11, 2013, 11:49 GMT

    tusi great ho ajmal bhai :)

  • on January 11, 2013, 11:40 GMT

    great gesture by ajmal....keep it up......this is the spirit

  • on January 11, 2013, 11:40 GMT

    great gesture by ajmal....keep it up......this is the spirit

  • on January 11, 2013, 11:49 GMT

    tusi great ho ajmal bhai :)

  • HawksEyeFocused on January 11, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    Great step by the great and best spinner of the current cricket!!!

  • imsharoon on January 11, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    love you. only great players can do this kind of activity and he is still playing.

  • iBilal on January 11, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    What a gentleman. There are some cricketers who spend their money on mutli-million dollar mansions... This good sir over here has spent that on a noble cause. My great respects to all such cricketers... Imran Khan, McGrath and Ajmal

  • davidatlas999 on January 11, 2013, 12:37 GMT

    great he is doing really good in the team and also he is a very nice human a great player and yes a good idea and we are proud sir on you.

  • on January 11, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    Thats what you can expect from really a very humble man. You are a living legend sir

  • on January 11, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    Ah ha, all the way, the great ajmaaal , what a nice human Mr. Ajmaal is ,respect for this gesture to help poor players in their intial struggle, only genius players can do such kind of activities , no doubt you are one of the best spinner wor'dckt. has produced ,God bless you sir. Cheers from J & k...

  • xylofon on January 11, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    as if the teesra wasnt enough ; )

    good stuff mr ajmal!

  • afy147 on January 11, 2013, 14:39 GMT

    What a great role model, exactly what Pakistan needs, shows how wise and mature he is. Long may it continue