9 Wickets Away From Concluding 2012 with the Most Wickets by a Pakistan Bowler in a Calendar Year
Saeed Ajmal needs 9 wickets in the remaining 3 internationals the Pakistanis play this year during the Indian tour to end the year with the most international wickets by a Pakistan bowler in a single year, overtaking the record of former off spinner and the inventor of the doosra, Saqlain Mushtaq who got 101 wickets in the 1997 calendar year across Test and ODIs. Murali holds the record for the most international wickets in a calendar year for all countries. Ajmal also just needs 5 wickets to overtake Dirk Nannes’s tally of 27 international Twenty20 wickets in 2010 which was the most in the format. Ajmal will have a maximum of 8 overs in Twenty20s during the tour and 18 overs overall in the remaining 2012 internationals to achieve the above landmarks, including the opening ODI on the 30th in Chennai. With the manner in which he has mesmerised batters, one after the other this year; who’s to put it past the Pakistani magician who was clearly inexplicably and unfairly overlooked for ICC player of the year 2012 against many people’s surprise and disappointment.
Ajmal currently is the leading wicket taker this year across all internationals just like he was last year. Since the beginning of January 2011 the late bloomer has spun out as many as 182 players with his mixture of off break, doosras, top spinners, arm balls, drifters, non spinning darts and quicker ones. You can never count out Pakistan’s most feared weapon who is undeniably one of the toughest opponents to face in the modern game. With age the toughest is also getting cannier in his game, making him all the more potent. Ajmal is yet to play a full series in India, the only experience he has had in India was during the unforgettable World Cup semi-final in March last year. Unfortunately for him, he won’t have the opportunity to play the Test series and prove his worth against them in the ultimate form of the game against the calibre of Indian batsmen as the tour is restricted to limited over matches only, during the Christmas break for the England tour.
Ajmal this Year
39 wickets in 6 Tests
31 wickets in 17 ODIs
23 wickets for 14 T20s