|Nickname||The Magician Sportskeeda|
|Profession(s)||• Former cricketer
• Pakistani cricket coach
|Physical Stats & More|
|The Indian Express Height||in centimeters- 163 cm
in meters- 1.63 m
in feet & inches- 5’ 4”
|International Debut||ODI- 2 July 2008 vs India at Karachi
Test- 4-7 July 2009 vs Sri Lanka at Galle
T20- 7 May 2009 vs Australia at Dubai (DSC)
|Jersey Number||# 50 (Pakistan)|
|Domestic/State Team||• 1996–2017: Faisalabad
• 2000–2007: Khan Research Laboratories
• 2001–2002: Islamabad
• 2005–2015: Faisalabad Wolves
• 2009–2017: Zarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd
• 2011, 2014–2015: Worcestershire
• 2012: Dhaka Gladiators
• 2012: Adelaide Strikers
• 2013: Barisal Burners
• 2016–2017: Islamabad United
• 2017: Chittagong Vikings
|Batting Style||Right hand Bat|
|Bowling Style||Right arm Offbreak|
|Honour||On 23 March 2015, he was honored with the Sitara-e-Imtiaz, the third highest civilian award in Pakistan by President Mamnoon Hussain in acknowledgment of his exceptional contributions and services to the nation.
|Debut||TV: Adventure-action reality show- The Ultimate Muqabla (2022-2023) on ARY Digital
|Date of Birth||14 October 1977 (Friday)|
|Age (as of 2022)||45 Years|
|Birthplace||Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan|
|Hometown||Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan|
|School||Govt. Islamia High School Jinnah Colony, Faisalabad, Pakistan|
|College/University||Government College University, Faisalabad|
|Controversies||Bowling action suspected
In April 2009, he was reported by umpires for having a suspect bowling action. In the following month, an independent test was conducted to assess his bowling action. The test results revealed that Ajmal's arm flexed within the permissible 15-degree tolerance set by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The Nation
Accused of involvement in spot-fixing scandal
In 2010, in the series against England, Pakistan found itself involved in a spot-fixing scandal in the fourth Test. In a secret interview, an alleged fixer named Mazhar Majeed revealed that Ajmal, Abdul Razzaq, Younis Khan, and Shahid Afridi were individuals who could not be bribed. He specifically mentioned that Ajmal had strong religious beliefs and principles and was not involved in such activities. The Economic Times
Inappropriate comments on ICC
In 2012, after the Test series against England, there was confusion surrounding comments made by Ajmal about his bowling action in an interview with the BBC. This led to speculation and questions about the legality of his bowling action. To address the issue, journalist George Dobell conducted an extensive investigation and held discussions with the International Cricket Council (ICC). ESPNCricinfo published a detailed report based on this investigation, providing comprehensive information about the matter and shedding light on the discussions held with the ICC. The articles that followed the investigation emphasized and clarified that Saeed Ajmal's bowling action was well within the legal parameters defined by the ICC for bowlers. BBC
Accused of illegal bowling action
In 2014, after delivering an exceptional performance for Worcestershire against Essex, where he achieved his career-best innings haul of 7/19, concerns regarding Ajmal's bowling action resurfaced. Former England captain Michael Vaughan and current Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad were among those who raised the issue, questioning the legitimacy of Ajmal's bowling action. Stuart Broad expressed his opinion that Saeed Ajmal's bowling action in competitive cricket might differ from the action he used during ICC testing. During the testing procedure for assessing a bowler's action, match footage is indeed used along with videos recorded in a controlled laboratory environment. This comparison is performed to ensure that the bowling action observed in competitive matches aligns with the action recorded in the controlled setting. This procedure was carried out in Saeed Ajmal's case, and his action was found to be identical and consistent with the previously approved action. Given Stuart Broad's comments raising questions about Ajmal's action, it is understandable that Ajmal reached out to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to request an explanation regarding the basis of those comments. Ajmal sought clarification and sought to address any concerns or misunderstandings regarding his bowling action. Sportskeeda
Ban from international cricket
On 9 September 2014, the International Cricket Council (ICC) imposed a ban on him due to concerns over his bowling action. In a statement given by them, they 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." The Guardian
|Relationships & More|
|Wife/Spouse||Name Not Known
• Bilal Ajmal
• Hilal Ajmal
Daughter- Rameen Ajmal
|Parents||Father- Name Not Known
Mother- Name Not Known
|Siblings||Brother Younis Ahmed (cricketer)
Some Lesser Known Facts About Saeed Ajmal
- Saeed Ajmal is a former Pakistani cricketer who is known for using the doosra type of ball delivery while bowling.
- He was associated with the Faisalabad cricket team since his debut in 1995, which he made at the age of 18. He has played for Faisalabad consistently throughout his career.
- In Pakistan, he played for Faisalabad and helped them win the 2005 ABN-AMRO Twenty-20 Cup.
- When Faisalabad emerged victorious in the ABN-AMRO Patron’s Cup final in March 2006, he was honoured as the tournament’s best bowler and received a prize of Rs. 25,000.
- He also represented Khan Research Laboratories and Islamabad in domestic cricket. He finished as runners-up in the final of the 2008/09 Quaid-i-Azam Trophy. Despite his team’s loss in the final, Ajmal put up an impressive performance, taking 5 wickets for 105 runs in the first innings and 2 wickets for 55 runs in the second innings. This remarkable achievement also marked his surpassing of 250 first-class wickets.
- During the Asia Cup hosted by Pakistan in June 2008, he was selected as part of the 15-man squad. His role in the team was anticipated to complement Shahid Afridi‘s leg spin bowling.
- He made his debut against India on 2 July 2008. He started playing One Day International matches for Pakistan in July 2008 when he was 30 years old. In that match, he took the wicket of Yusuf Pathan and conceded 47 runs from his ten overs, finishing with figures of 1/47. Pakistan won the match by eight wickets. In the following match against Bangladesh, Ajmal took 2 wickets for 19 runs (2/19) in a ten-wicket victory, even though Pakistan had no chance of progressing to the competition’s final.
- In November of the same year, Pakistan toured the United Arab Emirates to play a three-match ODI series against the West Indies. He, along with Shahid Afridi, served as Pakistan’s main spin options in the series. Ajmal took one wicket and conceded 73 runs during the series, and Pakistan emerged victorious in all three matches.
- His next match after the series against the West Indies was the third ODI against Sri Lanka in January 2009.
- In April, Pakistan played a five-match ODI series against Australia in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He participated in all five matches of the ODI series against Australia and managed to take four wickets at an average of 39.50. He was selected for the series against Sri Lanka, where he delivered strong performances in the Test matches. In fact, he was chosen over Danish Kaneria in two of the matches.
- In 2009, during the ICC World Twenty20 tournament, he was reported for having a doubtful bowling action. However, after being cleared of any wrongdoing, he played a crucial role in Pakistan’s victory in the tournament. After this, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced a pool of 30 players from which the final squad for the 2009 ICC World Twenty20, held in June was chosen. Initially, he was not included in the list. However, he was later added to the pool, replacing players who had been dropped due to their association with the controversial Indian Cricket League (ICL). During the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 tournament, he formed a bowling partnership with Shahid Afridi. Pakistan emerged as the champions of the tournament, and Ajmal played a significant role in their success. He finished as the joint second-highest wicket-taker of the tournament, taking twelve wickets in seven matches. Only Pakistan’s Umar Gul surpassed him, with thirteen wickets.
- In the 2010 ICC World Twenty20, he became Pakistan’s top wicket-taker in the tournament. Despite his strong form, Ajmal faced a challenging moment in the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 when he was hit for three sixes by Michael Hussey. This match is often regarded as one of the most exhilarating Twenty20 matches ever played with Australia in a difficult situation. Unfortunately, he was the bowler who delivered the final over that resulted in those sixes.
- In 2010, he experienced a significant setback in his international career during the T20 World Cup semi-final against Australia where he gave three sixes and a four to Michael Hussey after which his team lost. In an interview, he said that he was very depressed by the incident and did not go to practice for a week. In the interview, he added,
When I returned home after that, from the plane to the airport, and all the way back home, all I could hear was ‘Mike Hussey, Mike Hussey’. I didn’t step outside the house for 8 days. My father came to me and said, ‘you need to get to the ground’. If you stay at the home, you will be dropped from the team. Inside one year, I need a response to this.”
- After this, the Pakistan cricket team embarked on a tour of England. The tour included a series of two Test matches against Australia in July, followed by a series of four Test matches and five One Day Internationals (ODIs) against England. In the first match against Australia during the tour, the selectors opted to include Danish Kaneria instead of Ajmal. However, following Pakistan’s loss in that match, the selectors made a change and potentially dropped Kaneria and selected Ajmal. He was not chosen for the first Test against England. However, for the second Test, the selectors decided to drop Kaneria from the playing XI due to his ineffective performance as a result of which Ajmal was chosen as a part of the team to perform in the second Test match against England. Despite Pakistan’s defeat by nine wickets in the match, Ajmal achieved a significant milestone by taking his first five-wicket haul in Test matches. When it was Pakistan’s turn to bat against England, Ajmal played an impressive innings, scoring 50 runs off 79 balls. This was his first half-century in Test matches however, he was bowled by Graeme Swann.
- In 2011, in the ICC Cricket World Cup, which took place from February to April, Pakistan performed well in the tournament, reaching the semi-finals but eventually lost to India. Ajmal played three matches and took a total of five wickets at an average of 18.60.
- In 2011, he represented Worcestershire as an overseas player in English domestic cricket. He was subsequently signed again by Worcestershire as their overseas player in both 2014 and 2015. In 2014, he emerged as the highest wicket-taker in County Cricket for Worcestershire, taking an impressive tally of 56 wickets.
- After the World Cup, Pakistan played a series of ten Tests. It won six out of the ten matches and lost only one match. Pakistan won matches against Bangladesh, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, and West Indies.
- On 28 January 2012, during his 20th Test match, Ajmal achieved the milestone of becoming the fastest Pakistani player to take 100 Test wickets.
- In 2012, he made a tally of 50 wickets from 8 Test matches, which was the highest among all bowlers (the second-highest wicket-taker being India’s Ishant Sharma with 43 wickets). In the same year, Pakistan gave an excellent performance in One Day Internationals (ODIs), winning 24 out of the 32 matches they played. Following Pakistan’s 4-1 victory against Sri Lanka in November 2011, his rank in the ICC’s ODI increased to the number one spot. In 2012, during Pakistan’s tour of Bangladesh, he took nine wickets across two Test matches. He also achieved the top ranking in Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) between October and December 2012. In Test matches, his highest ranking was second between January and July of the same year. He held the record for being the leading wicket-taker in Twenty20 International cricket, with 85 wickets. However, this record was later surpassed by Shahid Afridi, who took 101 wickets in T20Is.
- At the beginning of 2012, Pakistan played a three-match Test series against England, which took place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In the first Test of the series against England, held in Dubai, he was awarded the prestigious “Man of the Match” title after he took 10 wickets for 97 runs. The figures were 7/55 in England’s first innings. In the second Test of the series, he became the fastest Pakistani bowler to reach 100 wickets in Test matches defeating Matt Prior. It took him 19 matches for this achievement. The Test series between Pakistan and England ended with Pakistan winning 3-0 against England. Ajmal was named the “Man of the Series” for taking a total of 24 wickets at an impressive average of 14.70.
- He secured a contract with the Adelaide Strikers for the 2012 season of the Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia.
- In 2014, he was banned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) due to his bowling action being deemed illegal. Saqlain Mushtaq collaborated with Ajmal to rectify his bowling action. On 27 December 2014, he made the decision to withdraw his name from the Pakistani World Cup squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. This came after he was unable to successfully rectify his bowling action in time for the tournament. In an interview, he talked about it and said,
My dream was to play in the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and my dreams were shattered by that ban. However, there was nothing I could do about it. Yes, it was disappointing, yes it hurt, but I have to move on and look to the future and not look back.”
- In July 2014, he represented the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) side in the Bicentenary Celebration match held at Lord’s Cricket Ground. The match was organized to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Lord’s, one of the most renowned cricket venues in the world.
- On 13 November 2017, he officially announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.
- After retiring from cricket, he ventured into the fashion industry by launching his own fashion brand called Saeed Ajmal Store selling eastern clothing and footwear.
- On 29 November 2017, he played his final cricket match representing Faisalabad against Lahore Whites in the 2017-18 National T20 Cup semi-finals.
- In 2017, he became the first bowler and the first overseas player to claim a five-wicket haul in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz.
- In 2018, he was an assistant coach of the PSL team Islamabad United.
- During the ball’s release, Ajmal’s elbow exhibited a bending that exceeded the limit of 15 degrees set by the ICC. Throughout his career, his bowling style was suspected and sometimes created controversies. He was a right-arm off-spinner to right-handed batsmen. However, he was known for his effective use of the doosra, a delivery that spins the other way. This variation was a valuable weapon in Ajmal’s bowling, as batsmen often struggled to pick it correctly. In addition to his variations, he bowled differently compared to most off-spinners. His unique style and ability to deceive batsmen with his doosra and flatter deliveries contributed to his success as a bowler. In an interview, he talked about his bowling style and said,
If I bowl with flight I cannot bowl well. If I bowl at a quicker speed I can then use variations in pace. If I take 70% of my wickets with the doosra why should I not bowl it? Whether you bowl a doosra or an offbreak, the ball should be bowled on the right line and one should take a wicket with it.”
- In 2012, he appeared in brand endorsements for Pepsi and Mobilink Jazz Pakistan Cricket Team.
- In 2014, he opened his own cricket academy Saeed Ajmal International Cricket Academy in Faisalabad with an aim to nurture and mentor young, passionate talent with the aim of developing and grooming Pakistan’s future.
- In 2017, after his retirement from international cricket, he opened his own charity foundation- Saeed Ajmal Foundation to help the disabled and underprivileged.
- In 2023, he criticized the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in an interview and said that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had announced a reward of 25 lakh PKR (Pakistani Rupees) for each player as a bonus for winning the 2009 T20 World Cup. However, the promised amount was never credited to the player’s bank account. In the interview, he added,
Our cheques were dishonored after winning the ICC T20 World Cup 2009. We got the check but no money. Yusuf Raza Gilani was Sahab. Check bounced. It was a check of 25 lakhs. I didn’t get any prize money for being the world number 1 bowler. Also, in 2012 and 2013, I was in the ICC ODI Team of the Year, I was there for two years. This is a team of the best players in the world. My name has appeared there twice, but financially I did not get anything. ICC rewards you. Simply, it comes near your name. But I think this is more than enough.”
- In 2023, he alleged that during the replay of a crucial moment in the 2011 World Cup semi-final match held in Mohali, two frames were intentionally removed to show the ball missing the stumps to favour Sachin Tendulkar in that match. In an interview, he said that after taking Sachin Tendulkar’s wicket in the same game, he was verbally abused by Indian fans.
- From November 2011 to December 2014, he held the top position as the number one bowler in One Day Internationals (ODIs), as ranked by the International Cricket Council (ICC). In an interview, he claimed that he never won the Player of the Match Award. Remembering an issue that occurred after the 3rd ODI match of the series between India and Pakistan in 2013, he said that he deserved to win the player of the match award but MS Dhoni was given the award. In the interview, he added,
MS Dhoni got the Player of the Match award in that game. Dhoni scored 18 runs and dropped 2 catches, still got Man of the Match. So that’s wrong. You tell me what is the meaning of Man of the Match. The player who performs the best in the game gets the Man of the Match. I took five wickets in that match, but India won the match, so they gave the award to Dhoni. He scored only 18-20 runs and dropped catches. How did he get Man of the Match? I should have received the Man of the Match award in that game.”
- In an interview in 2020, he said that he wanted to hit England’s James Anderson‘s head with his bat. The incident occurred during a Test match between Pakistan and England at Edgbaston in 2010. According to Ajmal, James Anderson approached him after the new ball was taken and asked him if he was ready for bouncers. Ajmal, who was a tailender thought Anderson was joking and replied that he didn’t understand English. However, to his surprise, England started throwing bouncers at him. After getting hit multiple times, Ajmal expressed his frustration to Zulqarnain Haider and said that he wanted to smash Anderson’s head with his bat. However, he eventually decided to counter-attack by stepping out of his crease and attempting to hit the bouncers after which the ball started coming onto his bat.
- He was a part of the group of Test bowlers who made their debut after the age of thirty and went on to take over 100 Test wickets. The other players on this list were Clarrie Grimmett, Dilip Doshi, and Ryan Harris.
- On 21 November 2023, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) appointed Ajmal and Umar Gul as the bowling coaches for the men’s cricket team. Ajmal’s coaching responsibilities were focused on spin bowlers, while Gul was tasked with coaching the fast bowlers. Hindustan Times