Magician Ajmal retires from cricket


Pakistan's discarded off-spinner on Monday announced that he would be retiring from all forms of cricket after the end of the ongoing National Twenty20 tournament in Rawalpindi.

"I am quitting all forms of cricket after the current National Twenty20 tournament", Ajmal told AFP. He had famously claimed 24 wickets in three Test matches. Though he made his worldwide debut late, in the 2008 Asia Cup, it was under Misbah-ul-Haq's captaincy, from 2011 onwards, that he became a major all-format force for Pakistan. In the 113 ODIs he played, Ajmal has 184 wickets to his name at an average of 22.72 and an enviable economy of 4.18.

He played 113 ODIs for Pakistan, a lot of them before he was asked to remodel his action, and bagged 184 wickets at an average of 22.72 with a strike rate of 32.6. After his retirement, Ajmal will continue with Islamabad United as their spin-bowling coach in the PSL.

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But for all the success, there was also the more problematic issue raised by his action.

Ajmal feels that he is running out of time to go out on his own terms and admitted that the tail-end of his career was frustrating.

He was reported first in 2009, during an ODI series against Australia in the UAE, though he was cleared soon after. At that point, nobody had taken more global wickets than him in the preceding three-year period.

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With Yasir Shah finding a regular place in the national team and several other younger bowlers in limited-overs, Ajmal's future at the highest level has looked bleak.

Ajmal, who turned 40 last month, lost his flair after his action was deemed illegal by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2014.

Ajmal played his final ODI and T20I matches on the 2015 tour of Bangladesh ending with 184 wickets in fifty over internationals and 85 scalps in the shortest global format.

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