Dean Jones backs Aj­mal for Pak­istan re­turn

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

Pak­istan's out of favour off-spin­ner once again knocked on the doors of the se­lec­tors with an im­pres­sive bowl­ing dis­play for his Pak­istan Su­per League (PSL) side Is­lam­abad United against a star-stud­ded Pe­shawar Zalmi.

A ca­pac­ity crowd at the Dubai Sports City sta­dium wit­nessed the Is­lam­abad-Pe­shawar match with most of the spectators quite ev­i­dently present to sup­port the Zalmis, which is lead by Pak­istan's T20 cap­tain Shahid Afridi.

Though the Zalmis won the match, Aj­mal was at his best when he was called in by United cap­tain Mis­bah-ul-Haq. And Is­lam­abad's Aus­tralian coach, Dean Jones, couldn't agree more. "He was the big plus for us to­day and also for Pak­istan cricket. That's what the PSL is all about. I thought his ex­pe­ri­ence was the key, he knew where to bowl, at what pace, what type of de­liv­ery. He re­ally was great," Jones said in an in­ter­view with Khaleej Times.

The first de­liv­ery bowled by the 38-year-old took a thick edge off David Malan's bat and raced to the third- man bound­ary. The re­main­ing five balls were dots as Aj­mal beat the south­paw from Eng­land with his nag­ging off-stump line and the per­fect length.

The off-spin­ner gave away just one run in his se­cond over, com­pletely chok­ing Tamim Iqbal, the sea­soned Bangladesh in­ter­na­tional. Aj­mal re­turned fig­ures of 4-19-1 but his im­pact on the first in­nings was huge as Is­lam­abad re­stricted a line up of Afridi, Dar­ren Sammy and Kam­ran Ak­mal for just 145.

Jones was all praise for the off-spin­ner, who lost his place in the Pak­istan side af­ter his ac­tion was de­clared il­le­gal by the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil (ICC) fol­low­ing bio-me­chanic tests in 2014. Al­though Aj­mal cor­rected his ac­tion and con­tin­ued to play do­mes­tic cricket and the English county cir­cuit, he found lit­tle favour with the Pak­istan se­lec­tors. "He was ter­rific to­day es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing what hap­pened to him over the last year. So to come back and show his class was fan­tas­tic," Jones said. Jones was all-praise for young bowl­ing prospect Rum­man Raees as well.

Rum­man, who hails from Karachi, was picked up dur­ing the PSL draft by the Is­lam­abad fran­chise in the emerg­ing play­ers' cat­e­gory and he was United's most eco­nom­i­cal bowler against Pe­shawar Zalmi. The left-armer was spot-on with his vari­a­tions and seething york­ers. "Rum­man Raees, I thought, was re­ally good. He showed lot of com­po­sure un­der pres­sure. I think he is one for the fu­ture as far as Pak­istan cricket is con­cerned," said the Is­lam­abad coach.

Jones was up­beat about United's PSL prospects de­spite his team's de­feats against Quetta and Pe­shawar. "It's not a good start ob­vi­ously. But we have to take one game at a time," he said.

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