Ajmal absence an ‘advantage’ for Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka coach Marvan Atapattu feels that Pakistan's failure to select spinner Saeed Ajmal will work massively in Sri Lanka's favour, as the veteran bowler used to give teams 'sleepless nights'.

Ajmal has not been picked for this series as his remodelled action has not proven as effective as his old, illegal one. His return to the side after months out, fixing his elbow flex, has not worked in his favour.

As such, Pakistan go into the series with Zulfiqur Babar and Yasir Shah as their spinners, and they have done superbly in that time, but Atapattu still feels Ajmal would have been a big threat, and is glad he's not there.

Atapattu said: "The major change that I see in this Pakistan side is that Saeed Ajmal is not there. He has been their main weapon and it's somewhat unfortunate that things have fallen that way. Teams have to face such situations.

"It's a psychological thing when you know that Ajmal at his peak made not only the Sri Lankans but a lot of batsmen think. He gave a lot of them sleepless nights.

"Now that he is not there it's a psychological advantage to us but still you've got to respect the good ball and put away the bad ones. That's the mentality I expect our players to be in.

"I believe they've got bowlers who could win games but at the same time they haven't done it yet."

Of his own bowlers, the coach was confident they'd be able to do well in the Tests as they've worked hard on their lines and lengths. While they may not have the pace of aRahat Ali, Atapattu feels as a unit they'll come out on top.

He added: "Our fast bowlers are more disciplined than a decade ago if you exclude Chaminda Vaas who was in a different class. We are trying to bring in more discipline to our fast bowling unit and hopefully we will see results.

"We don't have anybody who bowls at 150kph at the moment but you really don't have to. You don't need to be fast to trouble a batsman. We are more equipped in our unit to combat situations."