Monday, February 13, 2012
Pakistan vs England Test Series - Spinners Review
Abdur Rehman 9/10 - 19 wickets in 3 tests for the slow left arm spinner with his canny darts and smart changes of pace and trajectory. However, he really struggled in the batting department against the off breaks of Graeme Swann who dismissed him 4 times out of 5, but he bowled extremely well that the batting utility can be overlooked. Rehman was the 2nd joint leading wicket taker in the series. When the two have bowled together in the same line up Pakistan have taken 20 wickets 9 times in 10 tests and formed a destructive partnership with their guile and accuracy. With 75 wickets in exactly 15 tests Rehman is on track to be one of the quickest to the feat of 100 wickets as the Sialkot Stallion has not only controlled the run flow, but been amongst the wickets consistently.
Saeed Ajmal 10/10 - No brainer with regards to the mark. Perfection and rightly so. Where do we start? Saeed was phenomenal and claimed 40% of Pakistan's wickets in the series. Ian Bell was indeed his bunny as Ajmal saw the back of him on 4 occasions in this series as the off spinner spun webs around him. Saeed claimed 50% of his wickets LBW which gives a clear indication of how accurate he was bowling which enabled him to attack the stumps and bring DRS into play.
The flat pace he bowled never allowed batsmen to get to him which enabled him to bowl to a plan and work over a batsmen by getting the chance to bowl many balls at him. His economy rate is a reflection of how difficult it was to rotate the strike against him with many batsmen getting stuck at one end. His action was always going to be a talking point if he performed so let's leave that one out. I think former England captain Nasser Hussain summed him up well : " The gem in that bowling attack, Saeed Ajmal can end up as one of the genuine greats of the game. Arguably the best cricketer in the world at the moment. The lad is an absolute gem both on and off the field. He is the smiling assassin like Murali."
Ajmal during the series became not only the quickest Pakistani to reach the landmark of 100 test scalps, but also the quickest spinner to get there ever. In the last 3 major test series Pakistan have contested against West Indies, Sri Lanka and England, Ajmal has concluded the series as the leading wicket taker and MOTS. He was not off colour against them by any means, but his effectiveness was less against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh where Hafeez and Younis Khan received MOTS respectively.