With every passing match, Pakistan’s ‘magician’ spinner Saeed Ajmal is achieving the milestones in international cricket.
In the second T20 match against Sri Lanka in Dubai, he was the only hope in the bowling line-up of Pakistan. At a time when every Pakistani bowler was being brutally beaten by Sri Lankan batsmen and Sri Lanka became the first side to score above 200 against Pakistan in T20s, Ajmal not only took just 25 runs in four overs, but also took two wickets.
In 14th over when Seekkuge Prasanna was caught by Usman Khan on Ajmal’s delivery, it was his 100th international wicket of this year. He is only the second Pakistani after Saqlain Mushtaq to have picked 100 or more wickets in one year.
Mushtaq dismissed 101 batsmen in 42 International matches with an average of 21.85 in 1997.
Ajmal took 37 and 53 wickets in seven Tests and 28 ODIs, respectively. He is the leading wicket-taker this year in one-day international matches. He has taken 10 wickets in nine T20s and hence achieved the triple-figure mark.
In international arena, only 16 bowlers have taken 100 or more wickets 21 times until now. Sri Lankan bowler Muttiah Muralitharan is on the top of the list. He got 136 wickets in 45 international matches at 19.98 in 2001. He achieved his career best spell of 87-8 in the same year. He bagged 10-wicket haul four times and five-wicket haul eight times.
Overall, Murali has taken 100 wickets four times in a single year. He is also securing second slot in this list. In 2006, he repeated the same performance and picked 128 wickets in 40 matches keeping the average of 20.99.
After him, Australian spinner Shane Warne did this two times. Apart from him, Glenn McGrath is the only bowler who took 100 wickets in a year twice.