Murali: Ajmal must be mentally strong to return

Pakistan

Former Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is the highest Test wicket-taker in history, with 800 scalps, but had to overcome 'chucking allegations and testing several times, and has urged Saeed Ajmal to stay strong.

Former Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is the highest Test wicket-taker in history, with 800 scalps, but had to overcome 'chucking allegations and testing several times, and has urged Saeed Ajmal to stay strong.

With Pakistan's Ajmal at the top of his game, he was banned this month for breaching the ICC regulations by significant margins, and Murali feels only someone with the strongest desire to return will recover.

Ajmal is already 36, and is in a race to remodel his action and get retested successfully before the World Cup in February. Murali dealt with a similar race as a youngster, and returned to help his side win the 1996 World Cup.

Muralitharan told <i>TOI</i>: "It is difficult to say how he would or should cope with it, because it depends on your personality, how strong you are in tacking obstacles that may appear along the way.

"If you are mentally strong, you will bounce back, if you're weak, you'll be finished.

"In my case, I was naturally upset when the allegations were first made against me. After all, you're only a human! However, I believed in myself. I wanted to prove it that I wasn't doing anything wrong.

"I cleared around six-seven Tests during my almost two-decade old career. Once he proves it that his action is legal, and the 'bend' in his arm while delivering the ball is below 15 degrees, he can bowl again."

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