(Reuters) - Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal dismantled his technique to relearn the art of off-spin and put himself in line for an international recall with a remodelled action.
The late-bloomer emerged as Pakistan’s main strike bowler with a dizzying array of tricks in his arsenal until a suspect action brought about a ban in 2014.
He was cleared to bowl again a week before last year’s World Cup but has struggled to replicate the control that once made him a universally feared spinner.
“At 38, I have learnt something that I probably never did in my 15 years as a cricketer,” Ajmal told ESPNcricinfo (www.espncricinfo.com).
“I had to become a child, like the first time I went into the academy as a 10-year-old.”
“I will be back, and that day is not far. I have spent a lot of time outside and it hurts me when Pakistan loses.”
Ajmal said he bowled with weights strapped to his wrist and ankles to iron out kinks in his action, which he blamed on a broken wrist following a bus accident.
He has had to sacrifice some bounce and spin, and the occasional delivery can exceed the 15 degree elbow extension limit but Ajmal said he still had enough variation to trouble batsmen.
”I will leave cricket with this (new) action. If I am not effective, I will step aside and leave...
“The odd ball might have exceeded 20 degrees but I work hard immediately to rectify that. I watch every video of my matches. Ninety-nine per cent of my deliveries are under control.”
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien