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Misbah defends Ajmal's bowling action

Associated Press
Jan 19, 2012 at 10:11pm IST

Dubai: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said on Thursday that critics should stop doubting the bowling action of his star offspinner Saeed Ajmal.

Ajmal was named man of the match after his 10-wicket haul as Pakistan stunned top-ranked England with a 10-wicket victory in the first Test on Thursday.

Three years ago, Ajmal was reported for a suspect bowling action in Australia before he was cleared by the International Cricket Council. Critics have again raised doubts over his action after he took 7-55 in the first innings against England. He went on to claim 3-42 on Thursday for his second 10-wicket haul in Test matches.

Misbah defends Ajmal's bowling action

Misbah-ul-Haq said that critics should stop doubting the bowling action of Saeed Ajmal.

"He is now playing cricket for almost four years," Misbah said. "We should just admit now that he is a very good bowler and has certain variations in his bowling.

"He played in England and in county cricket (but) nobody said anything."

Ajmal has also promised to unveil a mystery delivery — teesra — during the three-Test series against England.

He bowled a few of his new deliveries in the first Test, but felt he needed more time to master the ball.

Ajmal's career-best in a Test match is 11-111 against West Indies at Guyana last year, but the offspinner thought his first Test effort against England was far better.

"To take 10 wickets in a career is not something easy (and) that too against world No. 1 team," he said with a smile.

Misbah has not lost a Test series since being appointed captain in 2010. The appointment came immediately after three Pakistan players were suspended and later jailed in 2011 for match-fixing during a Test match against England.

Although Pakistan is still the No. 5-ranked Test team, Misbah said performances like the one against England on Thursday showed his team was heading in the right direction.

"We are trying to be one of the best teams in the world," he said. "But I think it's still a long way to go. We are trying to be on the right path and do what we are doing well."

Misbah said he expects England to make a strong comeback in the series when the second Test match begins in Abu Dhabi on Jan. 25.

"When you are No. 1 team in the world there is something that makes you No. 1 in the world," Misbah said. "They have quality cricketers ... they are fighters and they can really come hard."

Pakistan has not lost a Test series in the United Arab Emirates since its home games were shifted to the gulf state in 2009 after gunmen attacked a Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore, killing six police officials.

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