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Ajmal targets World Cup comeback

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Ajmal targets World Cup comeback

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ISLAMABAD (AP) – Suspended Pakistan offspinner Saeed Ajmal is hoping to compete in next year’s World Cup, after completing a rehabilitation program at the National Cricket Academy.

Pakistan will be without Ajmal in next month’s series against Australia in the United Arab Emirates after he was suspended by the International Cricket Council when his elbow extension was tested more than twice the allowable limit of 15 degrees.

“I am sitting in front of you without any tension,” Ajmal said today in Lahore. “Whatever happened it was disappointing for me, but now I am not disappointed at all. I am eyeing staging a strong comeback in the World Cup.”

The Pakistan Cricket Board has hired former test offspinner Saqlain Mushtaq to assist Ajmal in remodelling his bowling action. Saqlain is expected to join Ajmal at the academy early next week.

“He (Saqlain) is a legend and used to bowl exactly like me … doosra, off-spin and everything,” Ajmal said. “He knows a lot and had done enough coaching, hopefully I will get benefit from his experience.”

The selectors have also started searching for a suitable replacement of Ajmal for one-off Twenty20, three One-Day Internationals and two Test matches against Australia.

“We have lot of talent in our country,” Ajmal said. “I am sure my replacement will perform better than me.”

According to ICC report, none of the deliveries by Ajmal during the eight overs of biomechanical testing in Australia came close to meeting the required regulations of 15 degrees elbow extension.

The experts were satisfied with Ajmal’s replication of his suspected deliveries from when he was reported during the lost first test against Sri Lanka in Galle last month.

He was previously reported in 2009 for his doosra – a delivery that spins away from right-handed batsmen – before he was cleared.