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Last of the 2011 Whine – Ajmal Shahzad

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(c) Dave Morton

Championship

10 games, 307 runs @ 23.61, 25 wickets @ 41.00

CB40

9 games, 105 runs @ 17.50, 10 wickets @ 38.70

FL 20/20

9 games, 82 runs @ 16.40, 9 wickets @ 26.88

Oh dear, Ajmal Shahzad; what a season to forget. It started with him returning from England duty carrying a hamstring injury that kept him out of action for the first three championship games. It ended with him being charged by the ECB for damaging the Edgbaston pitch, finding himself on the receiving end of a thinly veiled broadside from Yorkshire chairman, Colin Graves, and with an overt questioning of his attitude from Geoff Boycott.

There’ll be a few watching on from the stands who’ll raise an eyebrow at that Boycott suggestion. From a spectator vantage point Ajmal’s biggest problem seemed to be that he was trying too hard. Giving a hundred percent is commendable, but pace should come from a bowler with rhythm and balance. Try to force it and you can lose control, over step the mark, bowl short, bowl wide, bowl short and wide, leave yourself frustrated and all too often wicketless. So it was with Shahzad for much of the summer.

Injuries were to play a significant part in Ajmal’s season as well; with that early hamstring problem being followed by an ankle injury which dogged him during August. Far from ideal for a bowler who thrives on the rhythm of playing day in day out to get the best from himself. Instead there were times when he was bowling like a Yorkshire Saj Mahmood on a radar off day.

At least there was something more positive about his batting, as the confidence gained from clearing the boundary off Munaf Patel’s bowling during the tied World Cup game against India paved the way for more six hitting during the season. It led to a promotion up the order during the 2020 season and a blistering 59 not out against Kent after running into/out Gary Ballance.

It might be an idea that Ajmal continues to be moved up the order in limited overs games. If we’re going to be more flexible with our one-day batting, and we should, he’s not a bad candidate for a switch-hitting role.

Whether he’ll be around to try that at Yorkshire is still up in the air, as rumours continue to circulate that a move could be in the offing. Despite the poor nature of this season the departure of Shahzad would leave a huge gap in our attack. Given the patience shown to him during his youth, when a series of injuries would have seen many clubs release him, and given the way money was found to meet his contract demands in 2009 you’d hope Ajmal would find himself with us again in April with the resolve to get back to the consistent form of two years ago.

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Written by ThatCricketBlogger

September 6, 2011 at 12:12 pm

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