Islamabad, Jan 30 (ANI): Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal has risen to the number two spot and his spin partner Abdur Rehman has broken into the top 10 for the first time in his career in the ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers, after the conclusion of the Abu Dhabi, Adelaide and Napier Tests.
Saeed followed up his 10-97 in the Dubai Test with seven for 130 in Abu Dhabi, putting him ahead of England fast bowler James Anderson in second position. The 34-year-old has earned 50 ratings points for this achievement, giving him a career-best rating, and he now leads Anderson by 25 ratings points but still trails number-one ranked Dale Steyn of South Africa by 84 ratings points, the Daily Times reports.
Meanwhile, left-arm spinner Rehman, who had figures of two for 67 and six for 25 to win the man of the match award, has jumped five places to ninth spot. The 31-year-old from Sialkot had also gained five places in the bowlers' rankings after his match figures of four for 89 in the Dubai Test.
It is after 23 years that two Pakistani spinners figure inside the top 10 of the Test player rankings. In September 1988, Abdul Qadir was ranked fifth and Iqbal Qasim 10th, along with Imran Khan (third), Wasim Akram (eighth) and Tauseef Ahmed (13th).
Ajmal's achievement is poised to shut the mouths of his critics, who of late, had been slamming the bowler for his mysterious "doosra" delivery style.
Last week, former Pakistani bowler Saqlain Mushtaq backed Ajmal, saying "there are bsolutely no problems" with the former's bowling action.
"There are absolutely no problems with Saeed Ajmal's bowling action. Bob Willis is not the cricketing authority - it's the ICC, the umpires and referees who are there to deem whether a bowling action is legal or illegal. Saeed Ajmal has been playing International cricket long enough now for his bowling action to have been thoroughly scrutinised around the world, by all umpire and referees. In addition he played County cricket last season, there was no mention of his bowling action then. I would urge Ajmal not to worry about anything and instead concentrate on bowling well in the remainder of the series," Saqlain said.
Earlier this month, Pakistan's interim coach Mohsin Khan also rejected criticism over Ajmal's bowling action, saying that both he and Ajmal were unfazed by negative remarks. (ANI)
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