Saeed Ajmal: Worcestershire confirm date of spinner's return

Saeed Ajmal
Saeed Ajmal last played first-class cricket in Pakistan's series defeat by Sri Lanka in August 2014

Worcestershire have confirmed spinner Saeed Ajmal will return to New Road next month after receiving clearance from the Pakistan Cricket Board.

After obtaining a No Objection Certificate, Worcestershire expect to see Ajmal on 2 June, with a view to him playing in the T20 Blast game against Northants three days later.

Ajmal, 37, is available until 7 July, with a chance he could stay longer.

That depends on whether he is needed by Pakistan for one-day duty in Sri Lanka.

"He will certainly be available until 7 July," said Worcestershire chief executive David Leatherdale. "And possibly, depending on selection for Sri Lanka, even longer.

New action, same old Saeed Ajmal?
Saeed Ajmal's remodelled action gained ICC approval in February. The Pakistan off-spinner claimed 63 wickets in nine Championship games for Worcestershire last summer, playing a major part in the county's promotion back to Division One.

"If he isn't selected for the Sri Lankan one-dayers, he could be here for the whole summer."

Ajmal will return to English cricket for the first time since his suspension by the International Cricket Council for having an illegal bowling action.

"What he produced, prior to his problems, was exceptional for us as well as his country," said Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes. "We are very optimistic he will do well again for us. Obviously, he is a feared opponent by all of our opposition in all formats of cricket."

Ajmal will be available for Championship matches against Warwickshire, Middlesex and Nottinghamshire, as well as eight T20 Blast matches during his initial month-long stay back at New Road.

Worcestershire will have to manage without Ajmal for their first two T20 Blast matches, starting with Friday night's derby against the Birmingham Bears.

They will also be without their other overseas signing, New Zealand batsman Colin Munro, who is still on Indian Premier League with Mumbai, who are through to Sunday's final.

Munro should be there to help take on Leicestershire at New Road next Friday night (29 May) before hopefully unveiling Ajmal again, to start his third spell with the county, at Northampton.