Former Pakistan bowler Saeed Ajmal was one of the rarest spinners who puzzled all the great batters and never really allowed batsmen to have a go at him. His mesmerizing ‘doosra’ – ability to give accurate flight and a mixture of pace – made him one of the most deadliest bowlers of his playing days.
Ajmal played 35 Tests for Pakistan and picked up 178 wickets at an average of 28, with 11/111 being his best performance. Similarly, the leggie bagged 184 wickets from 113 ODIs and claimed 85 scalps in 64 T20Is.
Ajmal has also played a charity match between Rest of the World and MCC at Lords Cricket Ground in 2014 under the captaincy of India legend Sachin Tendulkar. While ROW XI had stars like Virender Sehwag, Kevin Pietersen, Adam Gilchrist, Yuvraj Singh, Shane Warne, and Shahid Afridi, veterans like Brian Lara, Rahul Dravid and Tendulkar were representing MCC.
Ajmal, who took a four-wicket haul in the match, recently recalled a funny incident involving himself and Tendulkar. The Faislabad-born revealed how the Mumbaikar came up to him and asked not to bowl seriously and consider it as a charity match.
“It was an MCC match. It’s supposed to be a friendly match. The players are required to spend some time in the middle because the longer the game goes on, the more funds will be collected. When the match started, I picked up four wickets in four overs,” Ajmal said in a video interaction with Cricket Pakistan.
“That’s when Sachin Tendulkar came running to me, and he said, ‘Saeed bhai, you are not supposed to play this match too seriously. This is a charity match. This is for the people who have come here to enjoy; they will have food, drinks. This match has to not get over before 6:30’,” he added.
“So I told him I was just bowling well to play positively. So he said, ‘ I agree with you, but this is a charity match, so funds have to be collected. So enjoy the match, play cricket and have fun’. So that’s what happened,” concluded Ajmal.