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County hopeful that Saeed will return in 2015
WORCESTERSHIRE will do all they can to bring spin bowling magician Saeed Ajmal back to New Road for the 2015 campaign.
But County director of cricket Steve Rhodes admits it is ‘very doubtful’ that the Pakistan international will return to Worcestershire for the end of this season.
Saeed’s figures of 7-34 in the LV= County Championship Division Two win over Glamorgan took his wicket tally to 56 in eight games this season, while he has also been a big influence on the other players, including England’s latest century hero Moeen Ali.
The spin star has already intimated he would be willing to come back if he was offered the opportunity, although Worcestershire recognise they would need permission from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for any such move to happen.
The veteran off-spinner is available for Friday’s NatWest T20 Blast derby with Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston and the LV= County Championship clash with Leicestershire at New Road before ending his current spell.
He is part of the Pakistan squad for the August tour of Sri Lanka and then his country face Australia at the end of September.
Rhodes said: “I think getting Saeed back for the end of the season is going to be a struggle, but we are very lucky with Mitchell McClenaghan coming in.
“It will be very difficult. Saeed has been on the go non-stop for a hell of a period of time now and, added to that, Pakistan have got some important cricket coming up.
“I know the PCB wanted him to have a bit of a breather. I think the way things work out it would only be for two matches if he came back. I think at the moment it is very doubtful that he would come back. But what I would say is I’m hopeful we can try our best to secure him to come back for periods next season.
“I know he enjoys his time here, but we shouldn’t take that for granted. He is a professional cricketer and we would like him to be playing for us.”
On hearing of Saeed’s willingness to return, Worcestershire captain Daryl Mitchell said: “Sign him up, give him a three-year deal, sign him up for as long as you can!
“There is no-one else like him in the world and we are very lucky to have him, not only on the field but the work he does with Moeen and some of the younger batters on playing spin as well.
“You can’t measure the influence he has in the dressing room, so we’ll have him for as many years as we possibly can.”