If the spot-fixing trio can get a second chance, why can’t ‘The Magician’?

Published: September 19, 2015

It’s not Ajmal’s new action that has tainted his performance, rather it’s the behaviour of PCB. PHOTO: AFP

So what if Saeed Ajmal was ranked as the number one player in the ODI format by the International Cricket Council (ICC) or if he became the quickest Pakistani to take 100 Test wickets, this did not stop the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) from treating him as shabbily as possible for his banned action which robbed him off his brilliant form.

Photo: AFP

This sends out a strong message to the existing as well as the upcoming off-spinners; don’t get your actions banned.

Great going, PCB!

There is a saying,

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me.”

And this is exactly what has happened in case of Ajmal.

To me, it’s not Ajmal’s new action that has tainted his performance, rather it’s the behaviour of PCB. Or wait, let me go a step further by saying that we can’t blame PCB either, because what they are doing is something we did with all our heroes in the past. We treated them in the worst way possible.

Photo: AFP

It was definitely not in Ajmal’s hands when ICC banned him back in September 2014 and it’s also true that he is struggling with his re-modelled bowling action, but everyone has unfortunately overlooked the will power of this 37-year-old cricketer. The time and effort he took to re-model his action, get it approved from ICC, and make his come-back in the international cricket arena was inspiring. Most of us would not be able to achieve such a feat at that age.

Instead of rightfully supporting him during this difficult stage of his career, he has been side-lined by those who used to call him ‘The Magician’.

Ajmal’s demotion from category A to category B added fuel to the fire and all his former fans began saying he should retire. But who are they to decide? Chief Selector Haroon Rasheed’s recent statement was also confusing in which he stated,

“I have said the doors are still open for him if he can show us his new action has also become effective.”

Someone needs to ask chief sahib how on earth he’s expecting a display of effectiveness from a player who he has conveniently side-lined?

Regardless of whether Ajmal should retire or not, the matter of his demotion goes to show that PCB and its board treat cricketers like race horses, the ones that can’t run are pushed to the side.

To me, Ajmal’s last statement in which he said he wants to retire with ‘respect and honour’ sounded more like he was pleading or begging. We’ve pushed him to the edge and now he’s started feeling sorry for himself, and why shouldn’t he? We deserted him at a time when he needed support from the board and other cricketers.

If PCB can give a second chance to criminal cricketers who were convicted of spot fixing, why can’t they give a second chance to a player who helped Pakistan make it to the top, performance wise.

Photo: AFP

PCB has all the right and authority to make decisions regarding the promotion and demotion of cricketers, but they do not have the right to take away our heroes pride and push them to such an extent that they begin feeling sorry for themselves.

These instances also set a horrid example for youngsters who then start preferring money over quality and hard work. If PCB cannot provide a secure future for their cricketers and give respect to them, they should not expect loyalty from them either. They should then wait for more Amir’s, Asif’s and Butt’s because they deserve them, we deserve them.

Abbas Mushtaq

Abbas Mushtaq

The author is a freelance journalist and founder of jazbablog.com (@jazbablog) He tweets as @abbasmushtaq

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • pakiboy

    Knew it’s your first article. “Performance-wise” as you call it, Ajmal has been terrible and so his demotion to grade B is absolutely logical. There is absolutely no comparison between “the tainted trio” and Ajmal, totally different ball game. Absolutely non-sensical, illogical argument. You probably also did not follow the domestic T20 league or the county or the series against Keyna where he averaged 40+. You seriously think he is going to perform any better in the international cricket given his recent track record? Some logical minds even think Grade B contract is a bit too much. Got to watch more cricket bro. Good dayRecommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad

    There is absolutely no place for miscreants, spot and match fixers and banned players in our national team. Its pity that our intellectuals don’t understand the meaning of words “second chance”. All miscreants who brought shame to Pakistan, their moment of second chance would arrive on the day when nation would forget their deeds. To attain that moment, they evaporate in atmosphere never to return in our memories again. If they kept on insulting us with their evil smiles, crocodile tears, lies and excuses, they will not get second chance to live a happy private life. Why there is no second chance for us?Recommend

  • pakistancricket

    It seems as if this is the first time you’ve written an article. You have based your case on no arguments and have merely presented a point of view that is absolutely flawed. No disrespect intended to Ajmal, but he should be flattered with the B contract category since that is not what he deserves on current form.
    It also seems to me that you have no knowledge of cricket and are not a keen follower of it. Ajmal was selected to play the matches against Zimbabwe and was hit around by third class batsmen like Masakadza. It is the team that is important and not the player. We cannot afford to have Ajmal in the time and concede runs just because he took some wickets and won matches for Pakistan in the past.
    It is best if we move forward and embrace that Ajmal will probably never be on the same level that he was before(For obvious reasons).
    I would love to have Ajmal in the time if he can rediscover his old form, but it seems unlikely with age not being on his side.

    Goodluck with future articles and I hope that you do some research before posting your next article on cricket. Yes, we do admit that the authorities who run Pakistan cricket may be corrupt but the treatment of Ajmal has been a little too lenient, if anything.Recommend

  • Haider Rehman Butt

    Perform in domestic to get selected. Is it really that hard to comprehend?Recommend

  • Nomaan

    You’re right. What happened with Saeed Ajmal was really not fair, but sidelining him was the only thing that could be done after how we got whitewashed by ban earlier this year. He can always live as a legend, and will truely be appreciated for all he has for Pakistan.Recommend

  • Reddy

    cuz they did something illegal in one match and they served their time for that,but this guy is illegal since the beginning,he even lied about his arm has some extra movement tried to draw a parallel with murali when put to test he failed at itRecommend

  • ajmal_critic

    I am sorry , but i dont understand why people give importance to ajmal. To me he is a cheater as well.. Bowling with 40 degrees (when 15 degrees is allowed) is no saintly job. I agree that he met with accident and in the process hurt his bowling arm, but I also read somewhere that the injury he sustained should NOT have caused him to change his bowling action. Pakistan should indeed look for newer bowlers and I dont think pakistan has a dearth in that department.Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi

    This is just a sentimental rant devoid of logic. Saeed Ajmal was the favorite of cricket establishment as long as he performed and took wickets. In turn, he was duly rewarded consistently for his professionalism and performances by PCB. It is not PCB’s fault that Saeed Ajmal was sighted for chucking and in turn PCB like in the past spent hundreds of thousands of $$$ on Ajmal’s bio-mechanical lab tests and rehabilitation. Heck, during Ajmal’s most recent sighting PCB went out of its way to reform Ajmal’s action and solicited Saqlain Mushtaq’s expertise in remodelling Ajmal’s action. All the expenses incurred by Saqlain for his services were duly paid for by none other than PCB.

    Ajmal came back with his new action and it was evident from the start that Ajmal had lost his bite because with his new action he was even having a hard time getting wickets in domestic cricket. PCB still put its valuable faith in Ajmal and him part of the Bangladesh team which toured there right after the world cup. Unfortunately he bombed big time and it was all to see that the great magician has lost his panache and guile.

    Fortunately for Pakistan, we have some good talent coming through the system and it is simply hard to imagine how Ajmal can be drafted into the team when his place has taken over by Yasir Shah on the back of some awesome performances and ably backed by Zulfiqar Babar. It really sucks for Ajmal but you are the apple of the eyes of your bosses as long as you perform.

    It has simply become a fashion to criticize our institutions without any research or knowing the fact, or simply disregarding facts due to bias.Recommend

  • zoro

    Funny and Illogical title …
    If your fundamentals are wrong …. how can you play…
    Anyway … its like talking to a wall…Recommend

  • Jayman

    The “magician’s” magic was his elbow flex. Once they took that away, the magic died.Recommend

  • Xubair Sheikh

    What a stupid analogy !Recommend