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Coach backs Ajmal selection

Coach defends off-spinner's selection

Ajmal: Faces assessment

Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam has defended Saeed Ajmal's selection for next month's ICC World Twenty20 in England.

The off-spinner has been included in Pakistan's squad despite being reported for a suspected illegal bowling action following the second one-day international against Australia in Dubai on April 24.

He will now undergo a biomechanical assessment of his action at an International Cricket Council-approved facility before the tournament starts in England on June 5.

But Intikhab on Thursday defended his inclusion in the squad, saying: "Ajmal's selection for the World Twenty20 is not a risk.

"We will send him to either Australia or England for the assessment in the next couple of days and hope he will be cleared."


But Intikhab added that if Ajmal was not cleared, he could still be replaced.

"Under the ICC process, we can replace Ajmal if, God forbid, he is not cleared but I am sure that he will play in the World Twenty20," said Alam.

After being cited, Ajmal took just one wicket in the three remaining matches of the one-day series, but Intikhab believes the off-spinner had still bowled well.

"Ajmal has not been under pressure," said Intikhab, himself a leg-spinner in his playing days.

"He did not take very many wickets but he bowled well and could still play a match-winning part in the World Twenty20."

Intikhab believes spinners can play a crucial role in the tournament, adding: "There has been a conception about spinners not being useful in Twenty20 matches but it has been proved wrong in recent matches, where spinners have taken wickets besides being economical.

"So, Ajmal can be a match-winner."

Pakistan begin their campaign against hosts England in Group C on June 7 before taking on Holland two days later.