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Ajmal given green light

Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal has been given the go-ahead to represent Worcestershire for the next three months and is set to make his season debut on Sunday.

In November Ajmal signed to return to New Road, pending approval from the Pakistan Cricket Board and suitable visa clearances.

The top-ranked one-day international bowler, who played for Worcestershire in 2011, has now obtained a visa and a no objection certificate from the Pakistan Cricket Board.

He is therefore set to arrive in the UK this evening, allowing him to play in the LV= County Championship game with Derbyshire at New Road, which starts on Sunday.

Saeed Ajmal, the top-ranked one-day international bowler, will represent Worcestershire for the next three months after being given clearance

Ajmal, who has 436 wickets in his 206 international appearances across all formats, could be available for nine championship contests and 12 NatWest T20 Blast matches.

He will have to end his stint with the county in mid-July as Pakistan have arranged to tour Sri Lanka in late July and early August.

Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes said: “Saeed is a very special talent, a lovely guy and will be great for our dressing room, and it's great that he is returning here for the next three months or so.

“This guy is one of the best bowlers in the world - so for us to pull off a coup in signing him is tremendous. Other sides would have desperately loved to have had him. Make no mistake, there will be a lot of jealous counties out there.

“He is top of the tree and he is a very good asset to the club. For his age, his excitement, energy and enjoyment for the game of cricket is quite amazing.”

Ajmal had a successful first spell with Worcestershire in 2011, taking 16 wickets in eight Twenty20 appearances, including a triple-wicket maiden against Northamptonshire.

He also picked up 17 wickets in three championship appearances and played a big part in a win over Sussex at Hove, which helped the county to stay in Division One.

Worcestershire skipper Daryl Mitchell, who has overseen a championship win and draw this term, said: “Saeed really is a genius and I don't use that term lightly. He is something special. He has got things that other people in the game simply haven't got.

“It is a huge boost to have him back here. He acts as an inspiration to the other lads in the dressing room. He is a great guy and one of those guys who loves bowling.

“He practices as hard as anyone as well. He is the first one over in the nets in the morning when he gets here and does extra training with his bowling.

"He is a real inspiration and a great role model for everyone else in the squad and, after a positive start in our first two LV= County Championship, matches will give the team a further lift for the summer ahead.”

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