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Spinner wants to end semi-final heartbreak

Saeed Ajmal says loss to Australia in ICC World Twenty20 2010 was a defining moment in his career

Spinner wants to end semi-final heartbreak - Cricket News
Saeed Ajmal says he is dreaming of winning the ICC Champions Trophy
Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal wants his team to end its run of semi-final heartbreak at ICC events and capture the ICC Champions Trophy in June.

Pakistan has lost the semi-final in each of the last four different global events it has played at - in the ICC World Twenty20 in 2010 and 2012, the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011 and the ICC Champions Trophy in 2009 - and Ajmal wants to improve on that record and finally make a final of an ICC event for the first time in four years.

"ICC global events are very important for us. If we win the ICC Champions Trophy we will be very happy as it is the last one."

Saeed Ajmal
"Last time we lost the semi-final in South Africa against New Zealand at Centurion. The last four ICC events we have got through to the semi-final. This time with the ICC Champions Trophy coming, we want to win it. That is what we are dreaming," said Ajmal.

"ICC global events are very important for us. If we win the ICC Champions Trophy we will be very happy as it is the last one."

One of the most heartbreaking moments for Ajmal was when Pakistan lost a dramatic semi-final to Australia at the ICC World Twenty20 2010 - a moment he believes was a defining point in his career.

"In the ICC World Twenty20 2010, we lost and I bowled the last over to Mike Hussey, who hit 18 runs. That was very hard for me. After we lost the game, I went home and my Father told me that I performed very well, don't worry about that and perform. After that I bowled well, I performed well, and I am now ranked number one, so I appreciated the advice from my father," said Ajmal.

Pakistan will be hoping to repeat its success of 2009, when it last played an ICC event on English soil, where Ajmal inspired his team to victory over Sri Lanka to win the ICC World Twenty20 2009.

"It was my first time playing Twenty20 cricket. I didn't know that the batsman played very hard in Twenty20. It was very memorable when we won the in 2009 and that was very exciting for me and the team."

Ajmal, whose side faces India, South Africa and West Indies in the group stages, of an event that runs from 6-23 June 2013, is particularly looking forward to playing South Africa in his side's second group.

"My best place in the UK is The Oval cricket ground. The ball is bouncing and turning - I like to play at The Oval," he said.

Ajmal also revealed that it was Pakistan's inaugural ICC triumph in 1992 that inspired him to take up the game.

"Pakistan won the World Cup in 1992 and that was the time I was starting to play cricket, so I have very good memories of 1992," said Ajmal.

Time will tell whether a new generation of youngsters will be inspired to play cricket for Pakistan if Saeed Ajmal can inspire his country to victory at Edgbaston on 23 June.

To watch a video feature on Saeed Ajmal click here.

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