6:13am Thursday 19th April 2012
© Press Association 2013
Worcestershire's worst fears have been confirmed with Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal ruled out of their Twenty20 campaign because of international commitments.
The county had expressed doubts last month that England's winter tormentor Ajmal would be able to return to New Road for a second spell because of his country's proposed tour of Sri Lanka. That tour has now been confirmed and the Royals are looking for a second overseas player to accompany Australian opener Phil Hughes.
The county said in a statement: "Following the recent announcement that Pakistan's tour of Sri Lanka will proceed, Saeed Ajmal will be unavailable for Worcestershire Friends Life t20 campaign."
The statement continued: "Ajmal had signed a contract to appear in Worcestershire CCC's T20 run at a time when the Pakistan tour to Sri Lanka was not agreed in the ICC schedule.
"But it is now understood that it is likely to take place between late May and mid-July 2012, ruling Ajmal out of the county's T20 campaign."
Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes said: "Losing a player of Saeed's quality is a big disappointment.
"However, we are extremely active in finding a replacement for the Twenty20."
Ajmal is currently rated the third best Twenty20 bowler in the ICC rankings.
During the recent Test series against England Ajmal was the lynchpin of the Pakistan bowling attack and collected a series best 24 wickets as Pakistan won the series 3-0.
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