PCB officials to skip ICC awards over Ajmal snub
The PCB has decided to not send its senior board officials to the ICC awards ceremony in Colombo on Saturday, as a protest over the exclusion of offspinner Saeed Ajmal from shortlists for two of the top awards. The Pakistan board, though, said it has, "decided not to [fully] boycott the awards ceremony and as a token send some squad members to the event".
Ajmal is the No. 1 ranked bowler in both one-dayers and T20Is, and the top-ranked spinner in Tests, but has been overlooked for the Cricketer of the Year and Test Cricketer of the Year nominations.
A meeting of senior officials was held at the PCB headquarters, headed by PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf, to decide whether to go for further 'robust protest'. The board said it will take up the issue at the upcoming ICC chief executives committee meeting. "The ICC's process of the short-listing needs to be reviewed and there should be a mechanism to correct errors," the PCB said in a press release.
The PCB earlier had lodged a written protest with the ICC after Ajmal was left off the awards shortlist last week and ICC refused to reconsider Ajmal's case, saying that the voting results are final and binding on everyone.
Ajmal was in the longlist this year but missed out when an independent 32-member jury that included former Pakistan captain Aamer Sohail and Pakistan journalist Majid Bhatti nominated Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara, South Africa fast bowler Vernon Philander, Australia captain Michael Clarke and South Africa opener Hashim Amla for Test Cricketer of the Year.
The 34-year-old Ajmal, took 72 Test wickets between August 4, 2011 and August 6, 2012 - the qualifying period for the award. That haul included 24 at 14.70 against England, the then No. 1 side in the world, helping Pakistan sweep them 3-0 in January.
The omission, according to the PCB "is an injustice to the talent and achievements" of Ajmal. "The PCB has strongly registered its protest with the ICC already and has conveyed them the sentiments of the people of Pakistan and fans and legends of cricket on this issue," the release said.
The Pakistan board also said it wanted changes to the process. "The matter will be raised in the upcoming CEC meeting of the ICC and a review of the process would be sought to avoid any such incidents in future. Corrective measures would be suggested.
"The PCB will impress upon this issue at other forums of cricketing community and all necessary input will be sought to devise a mechanism which is performance based and is acceptable to a wider segment of cricket fans."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent