Ajmal on standby for shock World Cup recall


Pakistan could sensationally call up the world’s No.1 rated ODI spinner Saeed Ajmal into their World Cup squad, but only if they win their quarter-final against Australia on Friday. Pakistan have so far decided against replacing injured fast-bowler Mohammad Irfan after the giant left-armer was ruled out of the tournament on Tuesday due to a stress fracture in his pelvis. Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Shaharyar Khan said a replacement would be sent to Australia should Pakistan progress to the semi-finals, and he says Ajmal could be the man called up. Quick Single: Ajmal still world’s No.1 ODI bowler Should Pakistan beat Australia and Ajmal get the nod for a semi-final appearance, it would be his first ODI since he was banned for an illegal bowling action in September last year. His remodelled action was given the green light by the ICC last month but is untested in international cricket. Paceman Junaid Khan is also in the frame for a call-up having recovered from the thigh injury that ruled him out of Pakistan’s initial squad in February. Shaharyar said Pakistan had considered selecting Ajmal when Junaid and Mohammad Hafeez were sent home due to injury last month. “If Pakistan proceeds to the semi-final, then a replacement will be sent and it could be Ajmal,” Khan told Express News. “It could also be Junaid Khan. ”When Junaid and Mohammad Hafeez had got injured, I had suggested that Ajmal should be sent as a replacement but the tour selection committee wanted a fast bowler and an opener as replacement.” Ajmal said, adding that he had ruled himself out of contention for the World Cup due to a lack of match practice with his new action.


“I withdrew my name from the World Cup squad because I felt I was not at my best yet and I didn’t want to play as second fiddle to anyone,” Ajmal said from the National Cricket Academy in Lahore. “I have always wanted to be leader of the pack and played cricket as front-line bowler and will continue to do so in future as well. ”I would have featured in the World Cup if I wanted to play but I opted against it as I didn’t want to be a burden on the team.” The 37-year-old hasn’t played international cricket since he was reported for an illegal action during Pakistan’s series against Sri Lanka last August. He underwent intense remedial work on his action after his ban and last month was cleared by the ICC to return to international cricket. Despite his absence from the game, Ajmal is still the world’s No.1 ranked ODI bowler and would be a welcome inclusion if Pakistan upset the tournament favourites at the Adelaide Oval.