Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Rhodes Hails Saeed Contribution And Is “optimistic” Spin Star Will Return In 2015

Rhodes Hails Saeed Contribution And Is “optimistic” Spin Star Will Return In 2015

Steve Rhodes has hailed the all-round contribution to Worcestershire of Saeed Ajmal and is "optimistic" the Pakistan spin star will return to New Road next season.

Director of Cricket Rhodes revealed that talks have already taken place about Ajmal coming back for a third spell with the county in 2015.

Ajmal signed off for 2014 with an incredible tally of 63 wickets in nine LV = County Championship matches.

He received a standing ovation all around the ground when he walked off for the final time after the 204 run home win over Leicestershire today.

But Rhodes insists his help in passing on knowledge to the younger players and assisting skipper Daryl Mitchell were also key ingredients.

Rhodes said: "Saeed has been amazing. His wicket tally and economy rates in T20 cricket have been outstanding and the amount of wickets he has taken in four day cricket has been outstanding.

"But it's more than that. This is a very young squad and one of the older guys in Moeen Ali hasn't been playing much as well.

"His experience and help to Daryl Mitchell out on the field and almost father figure to the young lads out on the park has been outstanding.

"He's not just been here taking his wickets. He has contributed in many ways in the development of our young players.

"He loves taking wickets but he also understands he has got a role to help teach and he is not shy of that.

"The one thing about Saeed is he has got an infectious enthusiasm for cricket and you look at this guy, his workload all the year around is amazing.

"The reason he does that is he loves playing cricket and it is a great attitude to have and, when you've got so many young players, it's great they see him at the age he is at with a real thirst and energy for cricket and it has rubbed off on a lot of our players."

When asked if he would like Saeed to return in 2015, Rhodes said: "Yes, we are already having talks and he has really enjoyed playing here once again and we've enjoyed having him.

"Hopefully if we can get the right deal sorted out and get the right availability on him, then we will get him back at some stage next year.

"I'm very optimistic but until you get a signed contract, you don't know for definite.

"But I'm very optimistic we can get him back to New Road which would be wonderful for the club and the dressing room and all the supporters."