|October 14, 1977 Faisalabad, Punjab
|46 Years, 4 Months, 21 Days
|Pakistan, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, Balochistan, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Faisalabad, Federal Areas Leopards, Faisalabad Wolves, Islamabad, Karachi Blues, Khan Research Laboratories, Punjab Pakistan, Titans, Water and Power Development Authority, Worcestershire, Adelaide Strikers, Chattogram Challengers, Dhaka Gladiators, Kandurata Warriors, Marylebone Cricket Club, Antigua Hawksbills, Islamabad United
Unlike most Pakistani players who enter the international fold with little or no prior experiences, Saeed Ajmal came with a heavy bag of domestic experience. An off-spinner by trait looking to out-think rather than out-do a batsman, he got his maiden opportunity in an ODI against India at Karachi in 2008. As an economical bowler, he successfully replaced the long-favoured Danish Kaneria in the limited-overs format.
Part of Pakistan’s spin attack in the first-ever World Twenty20, his ability to contain batsmen saw his team reach the finals. Two years later, in 2009, they went one better to win the trophy, with Ajmal as the star performer with the ball, emerging as the tournament’s joint second-highest wicket-taker.
In 2009, aged nearly 32, he was deservingly rewarded a Test cap against Sri Lanka and he didn't disappoint, picking up five wickets in the game. The following year, on tour to England, in only his 11th Test innings with the ball, Ajmal took a five-wicket haul and scored a half-century, announcing his authority in the big league.
His unique doosra and the ability to vary pace and trajectory have earned him quite a reputation across all formats of the game. Saeed Ajmal is the joint second-highest wicket-taker in T20Is for Pakistan, alongside pacer Umar Gul and behind Shahid Afridi. However, had Ajmal not been picked to play for Pakistan so late, he could have threatened a few bowling records in ODIs and Tests. With the ability to wreak havoc on all kinds of surfaces, Ajmal turned into one of the most lethal and feared spinners of his era.
2010 was a year of turmoil for Pakistan Cricket due to the spot-fixing scandal. However, amongst all the chaos, Ajmal kept his cool and was never involved in any wrong-doing. In a secret interview, it was unveiled by one of the fixers that Ajmal was too religious to get involved in fixing. In Test matches, Ajmal was performing extremely well with the ball. He picked up 50 wickets in 2011 in Tests, more than any other bowler.
2012 also started with a bang for Saeed Ajmal. In a 3-match Test series against England, Ajmal recorded figures of 10/97 in the first Test match. He also became the second-fastest Pakistani bowler to reach 100 wickets in Tests in the second match of the series, taking 19 matches to accomplish the feat. Ajmal was named the Man of the Series after claiming 24 wickets in the series as Pakistan whitewashed England 3-0.
After the series was concluded though, Ajmal's bowling action came into question and he was tested for it. However, at that time no faults were found in his action and he continued to play on. The case though dragged on as his action was continued to be questioned. After multiple tests conducted by the ICC, in September 2014, Ajmal was banned for his action. The statement from ICC said, "An independent analysis has found the bowling action of Pakistan's off-spinner Saeed Ajmal to be illegal and, as such, the player has been suspended from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect. The analysis revealed that all his deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted under the regulations."
Ajmal played his last international game in 2015 and has not been seen in the international circuit since. He announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in November 2017, playing his last match for Faisalabad against the Lahore Whites.