Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Hambantota August 22, 2014

Ajmal absence a 'big miss' - Misbah


Pakistan will be without Saeed Ajmal for the first ODI and possibly the second ODI as well, since he is flying to Brisbane to have his bowling action tested. Misbah-ul-Haq termed Ajmal's absence a "big miss."

"It will be a big miss. His exclusion is crucial but at the same time it will be a chance for others to stand up and fulfill what normally Ajmal provides us," Misbah said, on the eve of the first ODI in Hambantota. "Everyone is capable and they have to put some effort so that we don't feel his absence."

There were fears leading up to the series-opener that Pakistan could be without Junaid Khan as well, but Misbah put them to rest saying Junaid had recovered completely from the concussion he suffered during the second Test at the SSC. Having Mohammad Irfan - who was flown in as a standby for Junaid - in the squad, Misbah said, was an added advantage to the team. Irfan has played 27 ODIs, but hasn't faced Sri Lanka yet.

"He [Irfan] is a big factor," Misbah said. "He is the kind of bowler who can really trouble the batsmen from any team. He was fit and in good shape. He hasn't played any competitive cricket recently but he played some T20 cricket back home. So he can give us an advantage."

Pakistan lost the Test series 2-0, but the arrival of experienced ODI specialists such as Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi and Zulfiqar Babar has freshened up the squad, and Misbah suggested the changed combination would help the team put the Test series defeat behind them and start afresh.

"We have got a specialist one-day side and that will mentally boost us in the field," Misbah said. "Most of the players have adapted themselves according to the format and they know exactly what is required to shift their focus from Test to ODI. There are a lot of changes in the ODI squad and our specialist players are in really good touch and they know their role and understand what to do."

Pakistan were outplayed by Rangana Herath in the Test series, with the left-arm spinner taking 23 wickets at 15.13 to haunt the visitors. "He is a good bowler but one-day cricket is a totally different ball game," Misbah said. "He is in good form but at the same time a bowler gets to bowl only 10 overs and with a different mindset so we are looking forward to playing him, and we should not be feeling too threatened by him."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on August 23, 2014, 4:29 GMT

    Misbah might want to reflect on the fact that if Ajmal is required to bowl without flexing his elbow he will be an even bigger miss.

  • Android on August 23, 2014, 3:53 GMT

    Insaallah pakistan Well play.

  • Android on August 23, 2014, 2:23 GMT

    Yeah Great Mishap but Good enough Pak can fight without Ajmal and Junaid also Hope for pak win

  • Dummy4 on August 22, 2014, 23:08 GMT

    Younis Khan is a step backwards. Its like when Gambhir played last 2 tests against England and failed: useless. 1. Shehzad- Must play as he has settled well as the opener of the team 2. Sharjeel Khan- Complements Shehzad as Sharjeel is an aggressor, however Shehzad is and accumulator. Even if he has major technical flaws, we need to utilise the 10 over powerplay. 3. Hafeez- Decent batsmen and will keep control with the ball. 4. Fawad Alam- Should open in the test squad. Brill player 5.Umar Akmal- Help Pakistand get a move in the crutial middle stages 6. Misbah- Very good finisher. Useful when in during the last 10 overs. Then he will not waste time tuk tuking away 7. Shahid Afridi- get a few quick runs and bowls well on turning tracks 8. Maqsood/ Zulfiqar- Depends on the pitch ( Maqsood if playing will bat higher in the order) 9. Junaid- Obvious! 10. Irfan- Best fast bowler in Pakistan 11. Talha- Decent third seamer.

    Only problem with the team is that we have a long tail. 9, 10 ,11

  • aziz on August 22, 2014, 22:38 GMT

    Misbah has started to make excuses for the loss. Actually Misbah is the problem.

  • Dummy4 on August 22, 2014, 19:41 GMT

    I think the non availablity of Ajmal is some what blessing in disguise b'caz Ajmal is playing non stop cricket for quite some time now he was not rested for even a single game! This is the right time to test different combination . May be we can play with 2 fast bowlers one seam all rounder in Anwar Ali to go with afridi hafeez/fawad!

  • Dummy4 on August 22, 2014, 17:29 GMT

    Pak team will rock in ODIs inshaAllah ... :)

  • Dummy4 on August 22, 2014, 15:19 GMT

    pak win insahllah this series without ajmal & junaid i hope irfan playing well on this pitches

  • Dummy4 on August 22, 2014, 13:04 GMT

    It will be ok without ajmal. Hafeez and Afridi are more than enough. I dont think Pakistan should play zulfiqar baber. Instead they should go with fast bowler. SL is ok against spinners.

    Irfan shouldnt play if not 100% fit

  • Dummy4 on August 22, 2014, 12:19 GMT

    What If Junaid cant play and ajmal also so i will not be watcing this pakistani tearing bowling by srilankans

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