|Tour of South Africa: Ajmal geared up for sterner test|
10 January 2013
Instead of dwelling on his brilliant performance against India, Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal is focusing on the upcoming tour of South Africa where he aims to become the top-ranked Test bowler.
Pakistan are scheduled to depart for South Africa later this month for a full series comprising three Tests, two Twenty20s and five One-Day Internationals against the hosts from January 25 to March 24. Although the assignment is dubbed as the toughest one this year, the off-spinner remains optimistic about his team’s prospects.
“England were on top when we outclassed them,” Ajmal told The Express Tribune, referring to the 3-0 whitewash. “I’m aware that conditions in South Africa will be different to Dubai but we have the potential to perform anywhere.
“We were doubted for our ability to win in India but we proved that we can play under intense pressure that is always associated when these teams face-off.”
‘Type of pitch does not
Ajmal seemed unfazed by the fact that the South Africa tracks favour fast-bowlers more than spinners.
“I think that does not make a major difference. I believe that hard work can yield good results anywhere. I am the team’s strike bowler and everyone expects wickets from me. I will give my best to play a leading role for my team again.”
Ajmal said his individual target during the tour is to overcome Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander in the bowlers’ rankings for Tests.
“It’s my dream to go on top in all formats, with Test rankings the main aim. It will be a memorable achievement of the tour if I get ahead of the world’s two top bowlers who are both South African. I aim to repeat the performance I gave against England. This tour is special for me and I have already started training for it despite the gruelling couple of weeks in India.”
Ajmal likely to return to BBL
Meanwhile, Ajmal – who played only the first game for his Big Bash League team Adelaide Strikers before returning to participate in the India tour – is expected to rejoin the Twenty20 team in Australia if they qualify for the tournament’s semi-finals.
According to an official, the off-spinner has been given an NOC by the board to feature in the final. He is likely to depart on January 13.
Strikers will face Perth Scorchers in their last league game Thursday, which will determine their position as three semi-final spots are yet to be contested.
The semi-finals will be played on January 15 and 16 with the final slated for January 19.
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