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Former England batsman believes Saeed Ajmal was tougher to face than Muralitharan

Former England International Ian Bell has claimed that Pakistan spin master Saeed Ajmal was touher to face in international cricket than Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan.

Bell was part of the England team, which got whitewashed (3-0) Team Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2012. Ajmal was awarded player of that series for his remarkable tally of 24 wickets, which interestingly included 4 dismissals of Bell himself.

While talking on Islamabad United’s YouTube channel, Bell recalled how tough it was for England batsmen to face Ajmal during the aforementioned series.

“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,” said Bell.

“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.

The 38-year-old also picked Australia’s legendary bowling duo, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, along with Ajmal, as the toughest bowlers he faced during his playing career.

“Whenever I am asked this, I say Warne and McGrath together because cricket is all about partnerships. If someone is bowling well at one end but badly at the other, then there is no pressure on the batsman. But if I had to pick only one, I would still say Ajmal in the UAE was as hard as it gets. I think he got me out in the nets as well, during my time with Islamabad United,” he concluded.

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