Saeed Ajmal has told Pakistan’s cricket selectors: “pick me or let me retire”.
The spin king, who recently modified his action after an ICC ban, issued the ultimatum last week just days before his central contract was downgraded.
“I have always played on merit. But if the board feels I can’t play for the national team any more, I would ask them to let me know so I can retire gracefully and with self-respect,” the 37-year-old fumed.
“The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has done a lot for me and supported me in my testing times; all I want is a clear picture where I stand.”
Ajmal was reportedly angry after chiefs indicated they were not happy with his performances for English county Worcestershire this season and would like to see him in action at the National Cricket Academy (NCA).
After changing his action following last September’s suspension, Ajmal rejoined the squad on the tour to Bangladesh in April – but failed to recapture the form that saw him take 178 Test, 184 ODI and 85 T20 international wickets between 2009 and 2014.
“I have never forced anyone to select me in the Pakistan team. If I perform well and impress the selectors fine; if they are not convinced, it is not a problem for me,” Ajmal added.
“I have always played my cricket with self-respect and pride, and all I want is a proper chance to announce my retirement and thank all my well-wishers.
“If they want to test me out again at the NCA, I am also ready for that. I am coming back to play in the national T20 championship main rounds. The selectors can decide whether I have improved as a bowler with my modified action or not.”
Ajmal, dropped after the series against the Tigers, concluded: “When I played against Bangladesh, I was still experimenting with my action but now things are different. I don’t think my career is over; I know I can still play a while for my country.”
He was later demoted a pay bracket by PCB officials, leading to new doubts about his future.
Pakistan coach Waqar Younis admitted this week: “It has been difficult for him after remodelling his bowling action. I think it will take some more time before he is effective again.”
Former captain Shoaib Malik returned to the central contract list last weekend in deals which saw 27 players given wage increases including restored win bonuses.
The 33-year-old all-rounder was omitted in the last six-month list but has been given the financial boost after a successful comeback this year.
Malik fired a hundred against Zimbabwe in a one-day series in May – his first century in six years – and took that form into the ODI and T20 series wins in Sri Lanka.
One-day captain Azhar Ali also received a promotion from the ‘B’ to ‘A’ category. Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq, T20 skipper Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan and Mohammad Hafeez kept their positions in the top set.
The contracts were announced after a two-month deadlock which required negotiations between the PCB and player representatives.
The PCB added a detailed financial formula has also been agreed for the next three years from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2018.
Paceman Umar Gul, who was in the ‘B’ category in the last contract list, was left out as he has not played any international matches since April due to injury.
Pakistan central contract list:
Category A: Azhar Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Younis Khan.
Category B: Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Shafiq, Junaid Khan, Rahat Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah.
Category C: Anwar Ali, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Imran, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaan Masood, Umar Akmal.
Category D: Babar Azam, Sami Aslam, Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Amin, Zulfiqar Babar.