ICC World Twenty20 2009 May 7, 2009

Alam defends Ajmal's Twenty20 selection

Cricinfo staff

Intikhab Alam , the Pakistan coach, has defended Saeed Ajmal's inclusion for the ICC World Twenty20 in England next month despite the offspinner being reported for a suspect action. Ajmal's doosra was reported by the umpires during the ODI series against Australia in the UAE but he can continue to bowl till he undergoes a biomechanical assessment of his action, at an ICC-approved facility.

"Ajmal's selection for the World Twenty20 is not a risk," Alam told AFP. "We will send him to either Australia and England for the assessment in the next couple of days and hope he will be cleared."

Ajmal began the series on a high note, taking 2 for 19 in the opening ODI, foxing the batsmen with a series of doosras, and helping Pakistan to a win. But after the five-match series, he ended with only four wickets in total, though Australian batsmen were rarely at ease against him. He was reported after the second ODI, claiming that Shane Watson had spoken to the umpires about it. Intikhab had described the bowler as a "gutsy young man" for continuing to bowl, despite the setback.

"Ajmal has not been under pressure," Alam said. "He did not take very many wickets but he bowled well and could still play a match-winning part in the World Twenty20.

"There has been a conception about spinners not being useful in Twenty20 matches but it has been proved wrong in recent matches, where spinners have taken wickets besides being economical."

Should Ajmal not be cleared by the ICC, there was room, Alam said, for him to be replaced.