Saeed Ajmal tougher than Muttiah Muralitharan, says Ian Bell

Batsman says Pakistan off-spinner was unplayable at his best
May 19, 2020
Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Former England batsman Ian Bell has said that he found Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal much tougher to play than Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan.

“I found Murali easier to play than Ajmal,” Bell said during an interview on Islamabad United’s YouTube page. “Everyone has their own individual feelings and all bowlers are different but I felt that I could pick Murali the longer I was on the crease.”

Bell said that Saeed Ajmal and Abdul Rehman were brilliant during Pakistan’s 3-0 whitewash of England in the Test series in 2012 in United Arab Emirates. He added the defeat helped the side tackle the spin-bowling units of Sri Lanka and India which were brilliant as well.      

“Ajmal was at his absolute best during the 2012 series. As a batting unit, we really struggled to pick him. The series would go down as some of the toughest cricket we played. Rehman bowled beautifully and Ajmal did his thing. As a side, you always try to find ways to tackle the opposition but even Kevin Pietersen did not have answers at all,” the England batsman recalled.

The Islamabad United batsman credited franchise cricket for helping players get familiar with different environments and conditions. “I have always enjoyed playing in Pakistan. We had been on the rough end of a couple of results, especially in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.”

Speaking on his stint with Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League, the former England batsman said that he enjoyed the atmosphere and was disappointed with not being able to represent the side due to an injury. “I certainly didn’t think twice of going through and playing and at that time there was a match to win and every game in the tournament is so close because the quality is so high and I wanted to make sure, even though I was injured, I had an opportunity to help win a game or do something to help them win then I was willing to do anything.”

Bell also named Shoaib Akhtar as the fastest bowler he faced in his career. “He bowled some of the fastest spells I have seen in the 2005 series.”


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