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Ajmal working on secret ball

Associated Press
Jan 06, 2012 at 04:35pm IST

Islamabad: Pakistan offspinner Saeed Ajmal says he's working on a secret delivery to surprise England's batsmen in this month's Test series. Ajmal took 50 wickets in eight Tests last year and often surprises batsmen with a doosra, a ball that drifts away from right-handed batsmen.

He did not reveal his newly developed delivery on Friday, but said he would definitely try it out against England. "We are working on a special delivery, it's not very far, you will know it," he said.

The three-Test series begins in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on January 17, and Ajmal hopes the pitch will suit spinners. He grabbed eight Sri Lanka wickets in a Test at the same venue in October 2010.

Ajmal working on secret ball for Eng series

He did not reveal his newly developed delivery, but said he would definitely try it out against England.

The offspinner has not targeted any specific batsmen but has been watching videos of the Englishmen.

"We are going (for the series) fully prepared," he said. "We have special plans and we are working on that."

Ajmal took 12 England wickets at Birmingham, The Oval and Lord's in 2010, including a five-wicket haul in the first Test which Pakistan lost by nine wickets. However, the series was marred by the spot-fixing scandal after which three Pakistan players were jailed.

Pakistan has overcome the loss of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir from the scam over the past 18 months with Ajmal playing key roles in series victories over Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The offspinner, who has 83 wickets from 17 Tests since his 2009 debut, has the ability to keep batsmen guessing with a variety of deliveries and hardly allows batsmen to come out of the crease on flighted deliveries.

"If I bowl flighted deliveries, I simply cannot bowl," Ajmal said. "If I take 90 percent of my wickets while bowling doosras and off breaks, there's no harm in it."

Ajmal is the top bowler in the one-day international rankings, but did not want to be compared with England offspinner Graeme Swann.

"He has his own variety and I have my own variety, but he is a good bowler because he has remained the world No. 1 bowler in Test matches," Ajmal said.

Except for Sri Lanka, Pakistan's victories in Tests have been against lower-ranked teams West Indies, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in 2011.

England, the No. 1 Test team, will be Pakistan's first real challenge.

"Whosoever you play against, you have to take wickets," he said.

"Sri Lanka was the top team and I was man of the series against them. West Indies was not a bad team as we hadn't won a series against them, Bangladesh was not that good a team but I took only eight wickets against them."

Pakistan's training camp will end in Lahore on Saturday and the team is scheduled to fly out to Dubai on Monday.

Pakistan will play three Tests against England, followed by four ODIs and three Twenty20s before the series ends in late February.

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