No Worcestershire return for Ajmal
Worcestershire’s fears have been confirmed with Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal ruled out of their Twenty20 campaign because of international commitments.
The county had expressed doubts in February that England’s winter tormentor Ajmal would be able to return to New Road for a second spell because of his country’s proposed tour of Sri Lanka.
That tour has now been confirmed and the Royals are looking for a second overseas player to accompany Australian opening batsman Phil Hughes.
The county said in a statement: “Following the recent announcement that Pakistan’s tour of Sri Lanka will proceed, Saeed Ajmal will be unavailable for Worcestershire's Friends Life t20 campaign.
“Ajmal had signed a contract to appear in Worcestershire CCC’s t20 run at a time when the Pakistan tour to Sri Lanka was not agreed in the ICC schedule. But it is now understood that it is likely to take place between late May and mid-July 2012, ruling Ajmal out of the county’s t20 campaign.”
The statement added: “The Pakistan spinner enjoyed his spell at New Road in 2011 and is eager to return to the county when the opportunity presents itself.”
Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes said: “Losing a player of Saeed’s quality is a big disappointment. However, we are extremely active in finding a replacement for the Twenty20.”
Ajmal is third in the ICC Twenty20 bowling rankings. He was the leading wicket-taker, with 24, in the 3-0 Test whitewash of England earlier this year. He also took 15 scalps in the seven limited-overs internationals that followed.