Found Muttiah Muralitharan easier to play than Saeed Ajmal: Ian Bell

Found Muttiah Muralitharan easier to play than Saeed Ajmal: Ian Bell

"With Ajmal, the longer I was there, the worse it used to get."

Saeed Ajmal and Ian Bell
Saeed Ajmal and Ian Bell. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Ian Bell, the veteran England batsman, said that he found Saeed Ajmal tougher to play than the Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan. In his career, the Brits right-hander faced the Pakistan tweaker in three Tests. In those games, Ajmal dismissed him four times and Bell could only manage a dismal average of three while facing him. It was during the Three Lions’ series in the UAE back in 2012.

The visitors lost the series 3-0 and Ajmal became the Player of the Series, having picked 24 wickets. Apart from the 38-year-old Bell, the others also had a rough time against the Pakistan spinner in hot and humid conditions. Bell, who last played international cricket in 2015, said that he could never pick Ajmal despite spending adequate time in the middle.

All bowlers are different: Ian Bell

“I found Muralitharan, who has 800 [Test] wickets, easier to play than Ajmal. Everyone has their individual feelings and all bowlers are different. I felt the longer I was at the crease, I could start to pick Murali.

Whereas, with Ajmal, the longer I was there, the worse it used to get,” Bell was quoted as saying in Islamabad United’s YouTube channel. Ajmal is currently the bowling coach of the United in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

“The quality of spin that we played in that series was right up there with some of the best that I have played. Ajmal was at his absolute peak. As a batting unit, we really struggled to pick him. [Abdur] Rehman bowled beautifully as well. Even speaking to KP, who doesn’t admit very often, I don’t think he had a lot of answers in that series at all,” he added.

Bell also picked Australia’s Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath as the toughest bowlers he has faced apart from Saeed Ajmal. Bell also reminisced the times when Ajmal used to get him out in the net sessions of the United in the PSL.

In his career, Bell played 118 Tests, 161 ODIs and eight T20Is in which he scored 7,727, 5,416 and 188 runs respectively with 26 centuries and 82 half-centuries to show for his efforts. In April this year, he turned 38 and there are remote chances of him making an England comeback.