I pushed Tendulkar into ODI retirement, says Ajmal

Ajmal said Tendulkar decided to retire from ODIs after the legendary batsman fell to the off-spinner's doosra in the Asia Cup last year.



Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal claimed in a lighter vein that he forced legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar to call time on his One-Day Internationals career after he dismissed the Indian batsman with his doosra in the Asia Cup last year.

In an interview to Wisden India, Ajmal said Tendulkar was having trouble in picking the doosra in his last ODI in the Asia Cup. Ajmal, who also dismissed Tendulkar in the 2011 World Cup semi-finals at Mohali, added he enjoyed coming out trumps against the master batsman.

"He is a super superstar, that’s what the world calls him. He has nearly 50,000 runs in professional cricket. So obviously it was great moment for me when I took his wicket," Ajmal said.

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"He was having trouble in picking the doosra in his last ODI in the Asia Cup. Misbah said to me we could get him out caught at slip. Younis Khan moved to slip and it worked out exactly as planned." Ajmal then joked that Tendulkar was pushed into ODI retirement after he was dismissed by such a 'great delivery'.

"I got the wicket of the world-class batsman and it came off such a great delivery that he was compelled to quit ODI cricket after it! [Laughs]"

The 35-year-old Ajmal also revealed that he had, in fact, decided that the 2008 season would be his last in domestic cricket; but those plans were dropped when he was called to make his international debut in an ODI against India at Karachi on July 2, 2008. Ajmal took 1 for 47 as Pakistan won the high-scoring match by eight wickets.

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QADIR DESTROYED: Peshawar, 16 December 1989: The first ODI of India’s landmark tour of Pakistan was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to poor light. Instead, a 20-over game was played to ... more 
QADIR DESTROYED: Peshawar, 16 December 1989: The first ODI of India’s landmark tour of Pakistan was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to poor light. Instead, a 20-over game was played to engage the crowd. Pakistan batted first, made 157-4. India were slow to get going, and at one stage needed 69 runs off the last five overs. Tendulkar, still the 16-year-old cherub that he was, came out to bat. In 18 balls, he made 53 runs but India fell four runs short.

The most memorable sequence of his innings was his dismantling of the veteran leggie Abdul Qadir: in one over, the teenaged prodigy scored 6, 0, 4, 6, 6 and 6, dancing down the pitch to the cunning spinner and hitting down the ground. On one instance, Qadir held the ball back and beat Tendulkar completely in flight. But the youngster had the presence of mind to adjust his feet the tiniest bit, hold back the shot for a fraction of a moment, and then continue with the loft over long-off anyway. Mind you: the visibility was poor on the day, and this wasn’t one of your small modern-day cricket grounds. Tendulkar wouldn’t have played the game but for Kapil Dev’s stiff neck and there were no plans to play him in the ODIs either. It was tough keeping him out of the squad after this.

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Tue 15 Nov, 2011 9:29 AM IST


Ajmal said his most memorable moment in his international career so far is Pakistan winning the 2009 World Twenty20. "It boosted my confidence a lot. I had just stepped into international cricket and we won such a big tournament. I had worked hard for it."

On his much-hyped teesra that Ajmal was supposed to unleash against England in 2012, the off-spinner said he shelved the plans to bowl that delivery in matches because there were some doubtful elements.

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Since Tendulkar's tally of 100 international centuries consist of both ODI and Test centuries, we present a list of his highest impact centuries - 5 in ODI cricket, followed by 5 in Tests. Quite a few of these are performances that most people do not even remember - as they are not bestowed with the same romance and sentimentality that often provides an exaggerated hue on their true value.

All these performances are first, high impact in a match context, and then, series-defining feats (except one, which is mentioned) - that had a crucial say in the final result of the series (or the tournament). Overall, Tendulkar has 10 Series/tournament-defining performances in his ODI career (the most by a batsman in ODI history) and 6 in his Test career. He has been a greater ODI player than a Test player...and perhaps this list will explain somewhat why. less 
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Ajmal, however, said he has invented another variety - seedha - and claimed that it is even better than the shelved teesra. "It is like Shane Warne’s flipper. With my action, it goes straight, so it appears as a variation to me. The conventional delivery is offbreak; the other one is the doosra. So the one that goes seedha is also a variety, isn’t it?," he said.

Ajmal said he wants to play in the 2015 World Cup, but added he would retire if he feels his form is letting him down or if he is in the way of a promising youngster.

He also regretted that political tensions are preventing India and Pakistan from playing against each other in bilateral series.

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