Time on the sidelines will shatter Ajmal’s confidence: Miandad

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Former Pakistan captain and batting great Javed Miandad expressed shock over the exclusion of Saeed Ajmal from the tour of Sri Lanka, adding that the selectors would ‘shatter’ the confidence of the ace spinner by keeping him on the sidelines.

In an interview on Thursday, Miandad pleaded Ajmal’s case and said Test matches were the ideal format for the 37-year-old to regain his rhythm.

“I can’t understand why the selectors did not give Saeed Ajmal a chance in the upcoming tour. He has been the number one bowler in the ICC rankings. They will only shatter his confidence by keeping him out,” Miandad said.

Ajmal, who has played 35 Test and 113 ODIs for Pakistan, picking up 178 and 184 wickets respectively, has played only two ODIs and one T20 since his return from the ICC ban on his bowling action. His returns in those games were less than favourable, leading to his omission from the Test series against Sri Lanka starting June 17.

His domestic returns were not too impressive either but Ajmal has been signed on by Worcestershire, the English county’s captain Daryl Mitchell terming the Pakistani a “valuable asset”.

“He knows how to bowl and where to bowl, and how to suss batsmen out,” Mitchell said.

“I’m sure he will be a valuable asset in all forms again.

“I’m looking forward to having Saeed in our team again. He is a great guy to have in our dressing room.”

Ajmal will be available initially for seven T20 Blast appearances and three CountyChampionship matches.

Pakistan, meanwhile, open the series against Sri Lanka with the first Test in Galle which starts on June 17.

The remaining two Tests will be in Colombo from June 25-29 and the third at Pallekele from July 3-7.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka will also play five one-dayers and two Twenty20 internationals, for which squads will be announced later.