Saeed Ajmal: Worcestershire re-sign remodelled Pakistan spinner
Worcestershire have re-signed Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal following the end of his ban for having an illegal bowling action.
Ajmal was banned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in September 2014 after being reported during Pakistan's first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.
But, after a winter spent working on remodelling his action, he was cleared in an ICC test in Chennai last month.
Ajmal, 37, hopes to be free for at least the second half of the season.
Whether or not he is available for the first half of Worcestershire's summer is dependant on whether he is needed for international duty.
Pakistan's cricket board have already issued a 'No Objection Certificate', giving the green light for Ajmal to resume his English county career with Worcestershire when not on international duty.
But, although his country are scheduled to tour Bangladesh in April and May, discussions are currently taking place to determine whether that tour will go ahead. And, even then, Ajmal, who was not considered for Pakistan's World Cup squad, may not necessarily be picked.
|Worcestershire's Number One Saeed|
|Ajmal played in nine of Worcestershire's 16 Championship matches in 2014, but did enough to bowl them to promotion, taking 63 wickets at 16.48|
|He took six separate five-wicket hauls and twice took 10 wickets in the match: 12-40 against Glamorgan and 13-94 against Essex - the best match figures by a Worcestershire bowler at New Road since 1939|
|He has taken 178 wickets in 35 Tests at 28.10 in only five and-a-half years since making his debut for Pakistan at the age of 31 in July 2009|
Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes said: "We are waiting to hear as to what is going to happen regarding the Bangladesh-Pakistan series - if it goes ahead or not.
"That will determine how much cricket we see from Saeed this year but the good thing is we know for definite he will be available for the second half of the season.
"After all the work Saeed has done after failing his test, we're optimistic that he is well grooved and may come back a better bowler.
"He has bowled a couple of thousand overs. He talks about bowling 12,000 balls, and that's a hefty amount of grooving."
Ajmal added: "I have had a difficult spell with my action, but I knew I would come through it and have had the support not only of Pakistan.
"Worcestershire have all the time stood by me and I can assure them I will repay the faith they have shown in me this season."
Ajmal becomes the second overseas star to recommit himself to the county, following last week's announcement that New Zealand all-rounder Colin Munro will play in the T20 Blast.
This is the third time Saeed has signed for Worcestershire, having first come over in 2011.
He was due to return for the T20 in 2012, only to pull out because of international commitments, but came back to stunning effect in 2014, taking 63 wickets in just nine matches to bowl the county to promotion back to Division One in the County Championship.