September 10, 2012

Why Ajmal deserved the ICC nomination

His only competition was Vernon Philander, and the numbers show Ajmal has done better
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Many of us expected to see Saeed Ajmal on the shortlist for the ICC's Cricketer of the Year. The history of these awards dates back to 2004, and so far the only Pakistani name on the honour roll is that of Mohammad Yousuf, who won Test Cricketer of the Year in 2007. Of the nine Cricketers of the Year so far (the title was shared in 2005), six have been batsmen, and one a batting allrounder. We knew the 2012 list would be dominated by batsmen too, as such lists and awards usually are. But there has always been a bowler in the mix. Who else for 2012 but Ajmal?

The PCB was right to act on the fans' widespread sense of disappointment by lodging an official protest with the ICC. The feeling has been compounded by a misconception still prevailing in some quarters that Ajmal's exclusion was similar to Graeme Swann's in 2010. Swann was included after a public outcry; the fact that Ajmal hasn't been feels like a double insult.

But the two cases are different. Swann hadn't made it onto the longlist, which is picked by a five-member panel of selectors in a consensus exercise, that allows for decisions to be reconsidered. Ajmal has made it onto the longlist but failed to garner enough support at the next level, a private ballot by the 32-member voting academy that whittles the longlist down to a handful of nominees. This is a confidential exercise handled by a major management consulting firm.

In a nutshell, while Swann failed to get selected, Ajmal failed to get elected. The ICC is arguing that selections can be reconsidered but elections cannot be overturned. The voting academy's failure to pick Ajmal can be likened to one of those irksome umpiring decisions where everybody heard the snick except the guy who needed to raise his finger.

There is not much you can do with the resulting frustration, except just soak it up. The PCB is making noises about going one step further, by threatening to boycott the awards. That would be a silly dead-end reaction, leading to nothing productive. Ajmal's exclusion may be a bad umpiring judgement hitting Pakistan like a kick between the eyes, but there is no DRS here. Every now and then you just have to accept an unfair outcome and move on. It happens in cricket all the time.

As for the judgement itself, it remains perplexing why Ajmal would be omitted by members of the voting academy. This rather grandly named body comprises distinguished former players, respected media figures, representatives from the elite panel of referees and umpires, and Clive Lloyd, who chairs the ICC's influential cricket committee. It is charged with vigorous pursuit of the truth, but on Ajmal it has stumbled.

It all boils down to this: in contrast to Philander, Ajmal took more wickets, was a force in all three formats, was involved in more wins for his side, and defeated the top-ranked side more often

Ajmal himself has shrugged this matter off without much fuss. He is a straight, open, plainspoken man, with a hearty innocence that utterly charms and disarms. There is no posturing about him, no grandstanding, no contrived theatrics. The only thing crooked and mysterious about him is his bowling, which has taken him to a sustained hover around the top of the ICC rankings.

Three of the four names picked for the 2012 Cricketer of the Year shortlist are batsmen, which means that Ajmal's competition for this spot had really only been with Vernon Philander, the talented South African bowler. Given their relative contributions and influence, the preference for Philander over Ajmal sends out a worrisome message. At best, it suggests that the academy members need a refresher in some of the basics. At worst, it affirms the existence of an unspoken caste system in world cricket, well into the 21st century.

During the review period for these awards, Philander played nine Tests to pick up 56 wickets at an average of 16.57 and a strike rate of 33.1 (he also played a solitary ODI, in which he took 1 for 39). Ajmal did far more. His figures over the same stretch include 12 Tests, 23 ODIs, and nine T20Is, for a collective haul of 120 wickets. Although his overall average and strike rate are higher than Philander's, if you pick out Ajmal's best nine Tests, his tally in this parity comparison turns out to be five wickets higher, at an average (20.11) and strike rate (47.98) that are fantastic by spinners' standards.

In terms of opposition quality and impact, Philander picked up three Man-of-the-Match and one Man-of-the-Series awards, while Ajmal collected two match awards and two series awards. Philander's nine Tests included five wins for his side; Ajmal's best nine included six wins. Philander had two victories against the top-ranked Test side; Ajmal had three. It all boils down to this: in contrast to Philander, Ajmal took more wickets, was a force in all three formats, was involved in more wins for his side, and defeated the top-ranked side more often. Ajmal easily holds his own against Philander in Tests; and he did so much more heft besides.

This episode may be an affront to Ajmal and his huge fan support, but its greater significance lies in the opportunity it provides to the ICC. One would be surprised if it doesn't trigger some sort of reform within the voting academy - either a review of its composition, or of the voting mechanism, or a stringent set of fresh guidelines impressed on each member. "Academy" is a hallowed and lofty term, evoking sanctity, precision, and intellectual depth. A few more gaffes like this one and it will begin to sound like a caricature.

Saad Shafqat is a writer based in Karachi

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • hasanmoin on September 13, 2012, 22:31 GMT

    Saad Shafqat.................. U beauty... !!!!!!

  • on September 13, 2012, 14:13 GMT

    i hope ICC does something about this matter. exclusion of ajmal was a blunder. what were the selecting members thinking? there should be a proper mechanism and rules about this

  • AbdulHanan on September 13, 2012, 2:52 GMT

    Lol! if this is an ICC cricketer of the year award then Philander's incusion is just ahuge blunder, but if it s a test criceter of the year award, then Philander has high hand over Ajmal. ICC or the nominated panel should rethink about the decision if they have little bit sense. Afterall, they are the most cricket intellectuals. In my opinion, Philander doesnt deserve ICC cricker of the year award, rather, ICC test cricker of the year. Anyone can understand who has little know how of cricket. Just immature decision.

  • xyshee on September 12, 2012, 22:47 GMT

    The gist of the debate is......"It all boils down to this: in contrast to Philander, Ajmal took more wickets, was a force in all three formats, was involved in more wins for his side, and defeated the top-ranked side more often", and my all friends this is true , no one can deny this fact...

  • xyshee on September 12, 2012, 22:34 GMT

    In my opinion, ajmal should be shortlisted as the player of the year award because he is the only bowler who performed best among the world`s bowler competition,which shows by its ICC ranking in all 3 formats.... his avg ranking in bowler category in all formats is 2.... philander is no where in odi and in T20 ranking then how can phalinder shortlist for cricketer of the year.. All those how are trying to justify the nomination of philander kindly give me the answer that HOW CAN PHILANDER NOMINATED AS A CRICKETER OF THE YEAR AS HE HAS NOTHING IN HIS POCKET REGARDING ODI AND T20????...

  • on September 12, 2012, 1:13 GMT

    stop guys, crickter of the year is sangakara. stop grumpy

  • on September 11, 2012, 19:04 GMT

    Ajmal's average and strike rate deteriorated because he bowled in the dead pitches of Sri Lanka( 3 tests). Has Philanderer played any test on dead pitches???? I mean in the sub continent for the 9 tests which he has played.

  • kaidranzer on September 11, 2012, 17:48 GMT

    Oh come on! Get over it. No one really cares about these awards. None of the players from the invincible West Indies side were given any such awards. Yet people remember them as the best. Fans are the ones who matter and getting an ICC award will not get the player any special recognition from the fans.

  • on September 11, 2012, 16:01 GMT

    those who are saying Philander is jutified for international cricket of the year are basically saying that its only Test that matters. You don't even have to be selected for the other formats and still be considered the best cricketer. Can anybody make a point system for all formats, maybe based on player ratings !!

  • on September 11, 2012, 15:57 GMT

    because ajmal desrve in the nomition. ajmal takes 72 wickets in year

  • hasanmoin on September 13, 2012, 22:31 GMT

    Saad Shafqat.................. U beauty... !!!!!!

  • on September 13, 2012, 14:13 GMT

    i hope ICC does something about this matter. exclusion of ajmal was a blunder. what were the selecting members thinking? there should be a proper mechanism and rules about this

  • AbdulHanan on September 13, 2012, 2:52 GMT

    Lol! if this is an ICC cricketer of the year award then Philander's incusion is just ahuge blunder, but if it s a test criceter of the year award, then Philander has high hand over Ajmal. ICC or the nominated panel should rethink about the decision if they have little bit sense. Afterall, they are the most cricket intellectuals. In my opinion, Philander doesnt deserve ICC cricker of the year award, rather, ICC test cricker of the year. Anyone can understand who has little know how of cricket. Just immature decision.

  • xyshee on September 12, 2012, 22:47 GMT

    The gist of the debate is......"It all boils down to this: in contrast to Philander, Ajmal took more wickets, was a force in all three formats, was involved in more wins for his side, and defeated the top-ranked side more often", and my all friends this is true , no one can deny this fact...

  • xyshee on September 12, 2012, 22:34 GMT

    In my opinion, ajmal should be shortlisted as the player of the year award because he is the only bowler who performed best among the world`s bowler competition,which shows by its ICC ranking in all 3 formats.... his avg ranking in bowler category in all formats is 2.... philander is no where in odi and in T20 ranking then how can phalinder shortlist for cricketer of the year.. All those how are trying to justify the nomination of philander kindly give me the answer that HOW CAN PHILANDER NOMINATED AS A CRICKETER OF THE YEAR AS HE HAS NOTHING IN HIS POCKET REGARDING ODI AND T20????...

  • on September 12, 2012, 1:13 GMT

    stop guys, crickter of the year is sangakara. stop grumpy

  • on September 11, 2012, 19:04 GMT

    Ajmal's average and strike rate deteriorated because he bowled in the dead pitches of Sri Lanka( 3 tests). Has Philanderer played any test on dead pitches???? I mean in the sub continent for the 9 tests which he has played.

  • kaidranzer on September 11, 2012, 17:48 GMT

    Oh come on! Get over it. No one really cares about these awards. None of the players from the invincible West Indies side were given any such awards. Yet people remember them as the best. Fans are the ones who matter and getting an ICC award will not get the player any special recognition from the fans.

  • on September 11, 2012, 16:01 GMT

    those who are saying Philander is jutified for international cricket of the year are basically saying that its only Test that matters. You don't even have to be selected for the other formats and still be considered the best cricketer. Can anybody make a point system for all formats, maybe based on player ratings !!

  • on September 11, 2012, 15:57 GMT

    because ajmal desrve in the nomition. ajmal takes 72 wickets in year

  • king_kenie on September 11, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    I cannot agree with picking Ajmal's 9 best matches and comparing them with Philander's 9 test he played. that is an unfair comparason to make and it skews the stats to one corner.A better approach is to take his first 9 of their best five. I do agree though that Ajmal should be in place of Philander simply because he Plays all three formats and dominates... Philander is yet to be tested in all formats. he is an incomplete cricketer and definitely will not win the award. So watch Hamla Walk away with the Cricketer of the year trophy... it was so design that a batsman should get it.

  • getsetgopk on September 11, 2012, 11:03 GMT

    @DawidW: And why would you think that Ajmal should have been on the list? You do agree he should be on the list but still point out the skewed analysis? And I mean is it really that skewed? Its 9 out 12 games not 9 out 100, how can that be skewed? And what if Philander didn't do well in the next three tests just like he didn't do well in England? Philander's contribution in OID's and T20's is non existent. If they had to choose between the two they should have gone for Ajmal for the cricketer of the year. 120 wickets compare that to what? 58 wickets? There is no comparison there. Good Job PCB and Ajmal. Way to go!!

  • Match-winner on September 11, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    @johnathonjosephs, and many others - buddies no one is trying to compare Ajmal with Philander, they are only highlighting why one should be in the list in place of the other. And as @CUPULW again pointed out, it's the ICC CRICKETER OF THE YEAR AWARD, not TEST CRICKETER AWARD that we are debating about! Ajmal by the virtue of excellent figures in all 3 formats, should have been in the list over a very good "test bowler" in the "voting period" because he hadn't yet played enough ODIs or T20s to be called cricketer of the year! And once again, NO ONE is trying to take anything from V Philander!, neither does anyone have anything against him! It's the ICC and their panel with whom we have a problem...

  • on September 11, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    Why can't we compare Ajmal's worst 9 tests with that of Philander's?? Why are you considering his best 9??? And if you can see Ajmal has played some matches against lower ranked countries(like Zim and Ban) and we all know how good those teams are against spin... I agree Ajmal deserved a nomination but strongly disagree with your article.

  • DWP1 on September 11, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    I personally think that Ajmal should probably be on the list - but if your analysis shows anything it's that Philander had the better year statistically. To pick Ajmal's best 9 tests is a ridiculous manipulation of statistics (and you have the audacity to call this a "parity analysis"). The worst part is that even after you did this Philander still has a better average and strike rate. So even in your skewed statistics it still looks like at very least a reasonable decision to pick Philander. You say that Ajmal's figures for those tests are fantastic for a spinner (and they are) - but then you should also accept that he bowled many, many more overs than Philander so having a only few more wickets in the skewed surely shows just how well Philander did. There is no way that analysis "proves" that Ajmal had the better year. Ajmal probably should have been on the list, but if you had excluded Philander he would have had even more to complain about.

  • PureTom on September 11, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    To attack Philander over this is about as clever as leaving Ajmal off the short list. Philander is the second fastest man to 50 test wickets EVER and he did it inside the voting period. Wickets, opposition and competition are irrelevant, that's 2ND FASTEST EVER and the first time in over 100 years. Rather complain about why there are always more batsman than bowlers on the shortlist. My feeling is that there should be 5 on the shortlist with a basic guide of 3 batsman and 2 bowlers (But by no means a rule!) thus more closely reflecting the ratio most often found in a cricket team.

  • bcric12 on September 11, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    @RockcityGuy:ashwin is a mediocre bowler who can take wkt only against lower ranked team.

  • rahulcricket007 on September 11, 2012, 6:21 GMT

    @LOUIS DE CLERK . MATE PHILANDER ALSO HAS TAKEN WKTS ONLY ON HELPFUL CONDITIONS . HE PLAYED MATCHES IN SA , ENG , NZ . DIDN'T PLAY A SINGLE TEST IN SUBCONTINENT OR UAE . ALSO HE PLAYED THE 5 MATCHES AGAINST SL & NZ .

  • CUPULW on September 11, 2012, 5:35 GMT

    The award is ICC CRICKETER OF THE YEAR; not test cricketer of the year or ODI cricketer of the year or T20 cricketer of the year. so the writer has an acceptable logic that Ajmal should be in the list simply as the bowler who played all 3 forms of the game and took most wickets; VP has been good in tests but has not done anything in ODI or T20. On the same argument bully for people who say Sangakkara should not be in the list. Take a calculator and add up the figures to check who has made most runs in all 3 forms of the game. ICC could have avoided this muddle by having a 5 man shortlist- 2 batters, 2 bowlers and an allrounder in the mix. But how on earth did they not include SACHIN??he has to be in these list always no matter if playing or not :)

  • WishW on September 11, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    Herath took 70 wickets as well!!shouldn't he be nominated?

  • johnathonjosephs on September 11, 2012, 1:29 GMT

    Is the author seriously trying to compare Philander and Ajmal this year? "Best 9 Test matches"? What bias. If you completely omit Philander's first couple of Tests in England, he'd have an average close to 10. Ajmal is a great bowler in all formats, but I'm sorry to say that this year, Philander has edged him out by quite a lot. It wasn't even a contest. Author failed to mention that he played against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and also did not do that phenomenal against Sri Lanka (had high strike rate). Philander faced Australia, New Zealand, and England and he broke many records

  • Deenesh on September 11, 2012, 1:01 GMT

    Ajmal took wickets in spinning conditions, against teams that could not play spin. Philander made an impact around the world, as a seamer, to have those figures is very difficult. Only Steyn can get that today. But spinners will often have heavy figures to boost them up when they have the right conditions. Pakistan barely play high profile series, when they beat England it was in spin friendly conditions that Eng have been historically bad in. As good as Ajmal is, it is easy to see why a panel of batsmen have more respect for Philander. He is simply a more powerful asset to any team. A spearhead as opposed to a tail clean up guy.

  • on September 10, 2012, 23:44 GMT

    So, in essence, when you cherry-pick your comparison, Ajmal still performed worse in terms of average and strike rate than Philander did. Absolute nonsense, my friend. I'm a big Ajmal fan, and I agree that he was hard done by here, but Philander absolutely deserves to be on that short list. Ajmal really should've taken the place of one of those batsmen, and, as well as he's played, I'm afraid Sangakkara would have to fall off the list.

  • soorajiyer on September 10, 2012, 23:24 GMT

    Unfortunate to see this, but we are were we are!

  • on September 10, 2012, 22:44 GMT

    Your article CLEARLY mentions why Philander deserves to be on the nomination list more than Ajmal... We're talking about TEST CRICKETER of the year ...and when you compare their respective stats in Test Matches, clearly Philander comes out on top ...better average, better strike rate, better oppositions and away conditions..Good enough argument I guess.... I'm myself a hardcore fan of Ajmal but it doesn't mean that I would want him to be nominated in place of someone who deserves it more...

  • godofall123 on September 10, 2012, 22:38 GMT

    I really like the distinction between elections and selections that you emphasized. But I also totally agree with the other comments that you cannot select the "BEST 9" tests. That is ridiculous!!!! And how did you pick his BEST 9 tests ? Did you pick the ones that they thrashed zimbabwe and bangladesh ? Was it the ones where pakistan won ? or were they the ones where Ajaml played the best ? Ajmal was great. he totally deserved to be in the longlist and probably should have been in the shortlist. But he didnt/ This article and the similar analysis is a farce. hats off to Ajmal for playing wonderfully for the year and understanding the system magnanimously.

  • on September 10, 2012, 21:50 GMT

    philander should be in test cricketer of the year nominee,,, but ajmal certainly deserved cricketer of year more than philander,, dont be stupid and just think about it,, we're talking all forms of cricket here.

  • on September 10, 2012, 21:32 GMT

    Philander burst onto the scene and did so in grand fashion, against top opposition. Ajmal did it on friendly wickets, against Sri Lanka, (overrated) England, Bangladesh, and Zimbabwe. Philander, by the way, was also more than useful with the bat in the last 12 months. Ajmal should definitely be on the list, but he's not due the award over Philander, IMO.

  • on September 10, 2012, 20:32 GMT

    First off Great article providing the right stats. Looks like ICC provides the panel with the elected players to the panel and panel just reads it out. It is blatant. I sympathize Ajmal. Great half spinner in the current generation for he bamboozled many good players. I am an Indian and I support this.

  • on September 10, 2012, 20:18 GMT

    Ajmal, in his brief international career of 4 years has turned out as a huge star here in Pakistan, and is now famously known as The Magician in the world of cricket. Even Saqlain Mushtaq, the person who introduced Doosra to the world of cricket, who was followed by the greats of Murli and Harbajan, who gained massive popularity in the cricketing circles, describe Ajmal's Doosra as THE BEST. Its not only what Ajmal has in his arsenal of varieties, its also the way he uses it. The sort of attitude he carries on field and the way he has worked on his fielding at this age, is applaudable. For Cricketer of the year, one's personal landmarks alone cannot be the only things considered, since Cricket is a team game, Ajmal's contribution has been amazing to the team. Under his lead attack, Pakistan has climbed from 6th in tests to fourth in last one year and the way he deprived England from retaining their Top Spot in the ICC Test rankings does speak for itself too.

  • on September 10, 2012, 19:52 GMT

    I am an Indian, and I certainly think the ICC "Academy" has made itself a farce with this decision, Ajmal deserved the nomination, if not the award itself.

  • JerryV on September 10, 2012, 19:45 GMT

    That is rather contrived. Why compare Ajmal's best n Tests against Philander's n Tests?

    I was initially concerned that a deserving bowler had been overlooked. However, the analysis that you present makes it rather clear that Philander came out trumps deservedly.

    After all, our own Alistair Cook's best n Tests could place him higher than Tendulkar or Bradman if I choose to cherry pick the way you are.

  • abmughal on September 10, 2012, 19:39 GMT

    really nice article, but not gaining anything for ajmal except the sympathy.

  • on September 10, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    Great article.... Precise and to the point.. Ajmal deserves to be on the shortlist.. May be in place of a batsman but certainly he was better than Philander. To go with his impressive record is the fact that he played all the 3 formats and did well too, which Philander did not do. Essential it is for the best cricketer in the world to be able to adapt to different circumstances of the trade... More so for the one being elected to have had proven himself in this aspect as well.

  • mahjut on September 10, 2012, 18:38 GMT

    let me start by saying that i have absolute respect for ajmal's achievements and believe he most certainly should have been short-listed - at the very least - for this prize but there is some horribly muddled thinking in the comparisons with vernon here mr author ... you pick out Ajmal's 9 best is a ridiculously assuming way, you talk about 'for a spinner' but spinners are usually more successful accross all formats (often more so than medium pacers like Onions or Vernon). Tests are still the pinnacle and you neglet to mention a few things mentioned by a few posters about Vernon's record breaking bowling. the piece - and its message - was ruined by the comparison. Good on Ajmal for being magnanimous - more respect to him. and more's the pity the ICC missed a chance to recognise his contributions

  • tommytucker on September 10, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    unfortunately Saad, you cant just pick Ajmals 9 best performances and base your whole article on that. A player is rated by consistent performance in the time period Philander has a better average and strike (and he can bat!!)

    Vernon equalled the record for FASTEST man to 50 test wickets in almost 100 years, if this doesnt get you an award - what will !!!

  • ElBeeDubya on September 10, 2012, 17:52 GMT

    I agree with the author. Saeed Ajmal should have only played those nine best Tests and then stopped playing any matches the rest of the year. That would give us TRUE EQUIVALENCE. The only other way to MAKE True Equivalence is to count the deliveries Philander has bowled and then take Saeed Ajmal's best deliveries that match that number. <Kindly insert appropriate emoticons if/where necessary.>

  • on September 10, 2012, 16:41 GMT

    I am an Indian and I still feel Ajmal has been hard done...The only reason the Ind-Pak ODI series later this year is awaited by me is to see how the Indian batsman, fed on a diet of spin face upto him. Ajmal...you rock!!! For us...you are the winner anyways.

  • r1m2 on September 10, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    While I do agree that ICC did mess up with this Ajmal case... it does not matter whether it should've been him instead of Philander or any of the 3 batsmen chosen for cricketer of the award.... he should've been picked since his stats were so impressive during the period in consideration.

    However, I noticed a lot of strange articles in this regard. Every article in this regard seems to be in conflict... on one hand the article says these awards do not mean much, and then goes on to say how unfair ICC is being to Ajmal and some of them as in this one, also goes on to explain a conspiracy theory behind it all. These all sounds like very sour grapes to me, to say the least.

    Additionally, ICC has rules as well as norms set up and they are paranoid about breaking rules and norms. In this case, since Ajmal was not "elected" to be in the final 5 as Saad puts it, there's nothing ICC can do about it. There's no concept of overriding this non-election of Ajmal. And that is a fair approach imo.

  • keptalittlelow on September 10, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    All these facts and figures so clearly show who should be the one to be on the list, Saeed Ajmal of course, its no rocket science. Hard to understand ICC reasoning!!

  • Pakistanrox101 on September 10, 2012, 15:36 GMT

    A great piece, Saad. You are a great writer. Keep up the good work.

  • on September 10, 2012, 15:36 GMT

    @Saad, nice article, but you really failed to impress when you use this sentence "if you pick out Ajmal's best nine Tests" why just best 9 tests ??? see just one sentence reduce the authority of your very well written article ... other than that i am agree with most of the points but still you failed to make a mark with them...

  • PPD123 on September 10, 2012, 15:31 GMT

    A very good article and well referenced. On hindsight Saeed Ajmal should have been selected for the Cricketer of the year award. Tough luck. Definitely some mis judgement from the electing Jury. I feel he is good enough to have another stupendous year. Irrespective of what Eng say about Swann, Ajmal definitely is the best spinner in the world today. No arguments... Go well Ajmal!

  • o_close on September 10, 2012, 15:14 GMT

    I agree that Ajmal should have been on this shortlist - most probably in place of Clarke. But the author is getting to this through a logic that is definitely flawed. If you want to compare only 9 tests and leave out Ajmal's three worst matches by selecting the best 9, the assumption is that if Philander had played 3 more Tests those would definitely be worse than the worst of 9 he played. Comparison after the worst (or the best) is left out can statistically prove anything you want to prove.

  • on September 10, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    the shame is that, two pakistani (Mr Shohail & Mr Maijd) whose thought mattered the most, didn't feel Ajmal was good enough to be short-listed!! i found that really amusing.

  • on September 10, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    The attack on Philander is unwarrented. Let's not forget that he became the fastest man to take 50 wickets in like a hundred years of test cricket. Ajmal is already an accomplished seasoned cricketer, but perhaps it would be more apt to compare how he did in his first seven or so tests witht the performance of Philander. His old-fashioned bowling style, which relies on seam movement and remorseless accuracy and planning, is certainly also a factor in his nomination (is there also perhaps a bias against Ajmal, whether legit or not, for his ability to bowl the doosra, or whatever they are calling the one that goes the other way?). T20 cricket and 50 overs are quite irrelevant when compared to performances in test matches. This is the only form of cricket by which players are really judged, so the nomination is quite appropriate.

  • StatisticsRocks on September 10, 2012, 14:59 GMT

    Very well written article from Saad. I just can't understand how anyone can miss what Ajmal is doing on the field, just ask ENG and Aussies as they are still clueless and Ajmal alone made their batsmen look stupid. Whether it is test match, ODI or t20 no one including Indians, SLans, seem to read him at all. He makes every batsmen dance. What a bowler. Ajmal u may not be nominated by ICC (which includes Sohail and Mr. Majid) but in the eyes of the true cricketing fans u are the best bowler in the world, period. Good luck and I hope u continue to bamboozle the batsmen.

  • Asim_Ashraf on September 10, 2012, 14:58 GMT

    Lets we Compare players to player performance. Clark & Amla VS Ajmal, all these three have wonderful performance throughout year in Test, OdIs against all teams, while Ajmal is best among those players in T20. So Ajmal is Better Nominee. Now Vernon VS Ajmal. Vernon Philander has been nominated only due to test matches performance (a bit better record in test matches than Ajmal's). He can be competent in test list but not ICC Cricketer of the year. There is only one true Competent "Kumara Sangakara" VS "Saeed Ajmal". Both are the best, outstanding and match winning performer in "All Format of Cricket". So best option for ICC Cricketer of the year should be one of these two Magician Ajmal or Sanga. I go with Ajmal.

  • bohurupi on September 10, 2012, 14:54 GMT

    Ajmal needs no awards. he is the uncrowned king of bowling in all three versions of cricket. He is already on the top of the world and would continue to be on it. He is already in the heart of thousands of fans irrespective of the land and language and so has won the all time "the People's Award of Cricket". Our prayers are with him.

  • szaidi on September 10, 2012, 14:52 GMT

    @ PiyushD Wow! Wow! I can give it "Comments of the Year" as said "Why there should be election for something that can be so self elected on numbers"

  • davi7england on September 10, 2012, 14:49 GMT

    I am South African and agree that Ajmal has a better case than Philander for the award but what kind of comparison picks out someone's best performances, negates the less flattering ones and then pegs them against all of someone elses - short comings and all. Then to claim in absolute terms that they are better as their manipulated analysis shows. Rather drive home the fact that Ajmal is good in all forms and leave the Test data in its pure form

  • cricfala on September 10, 2012, 14:43 GMT

    Thanks Saad, nice article. I would suggest if you could provide the stats of both Ajmal and Philander in CHART format would be more EYE OPENER for ICC

  • Asim_Ashraf on September 10, 2012, 14:37 GMT

    I think there should b Ajmal in shortlist of ICC Cricketer of the Year, moreover he should nominate for it, because in presence of Kumara, Clark and Amla, Ajmal is more highlighting player, because he has taken wickets of these three batsmen during the series played earlier with those cricketer's team. Not only this, world top batsmen feel confusion, fear and uncertainty while facing Ajmal's mysterious bowling. And world 120 batsmen were victim of Ajmal's magical bowling during last year in all format of cricket, not only in test cricket.

  • Haleos on September 10, 2012, 14:14 GMT

    Can e get over it now? The panel left him out of the short list. Not that he was not part of the original list.

  • on September 10, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    With no disrespect to Ajmal ..most of those wickets have come in subcontinental conditions which favour spin ..with respect to swann it was different because he plied his craft in England which was not spinner friendly ...All said and done, I feel Ajmal deserves a nomination and ICC have been foolish with its method of selection

  • IrtizaRizvi on September 10, 2012, 14:00 GMT

    what to expect from Sharad Pawar & Haroon Logart?

  • Asim_Ashraf on September 10, 2012, 13:58 GMT

    Yes that's right we should not compare 9 tests of Vernon with best 9/12 tests of Ajmal. But I think nomination is for "ICC Cricketer of the Year" not for "ICC Test Cricketer of the Year". This was the point because Ajmal performed best in all formats of cricket while Vernon is nominated only for his test matches performances. I think "Ajmal" should be there in Shortlist of "ICC Cricketer of the Years" while "Vernon" Should nominee for "ICC Test Cricketer of the Years"

  • cricpolitics on September 10, 2012, 13:48 GMT

    High average or low average, the fact is that Philander only played the test matches and only one solitary ODI. This fact alone does not chime with Cricketer of the Year since cricket is being played in three different formats today and it takes a special talent to be a force in all three which Ajmal is.

  • on September 10, 2012, 13:46 GMT

    Ajmal is an artist... like Saqlain Mushtaq, Kumble and the baap of all Shane Warne Like all a treat to watch.. Keep up the good work.

  • PiyushD on September 10, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    Why there should be election for something that can be so self elected on numbers.

  • on September 10, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    the shame is that, two pakistani (Mr Shohail & Mr Maijd) whose thought mattered the most, didn't feel Ajmal was good enough to be short-listed!! i found that really amusing.

  • on September 10, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    Saeed took 57 wickets in 9 tests against eng & sirilanka at an avg of 23 excluding bangla and Zimb. Which is fantastic for a spinner. And Philandar took 56 in 9 tests at an avg of 16.5. I think both deserve to be included in short list of test cricketer of the year. Now for cricketer of the year (not test cricketer) important point is that Saeed have an agregate of 120 wickets across all formats comparing with Philandars 56 in tests only, so its no rocket science it should have been Saeed.

  • Roamer on September 10, 2012, 13:33 GMT

    Saeed Ajmal should have been nominated in the Test player of the Year, why is it a problem to have two bowlers in the Test player of the year list instead of one, have we forgotten the simple logic 'Bowlers win test matches' ? Both Philander and Ajmal were phenomenal this year for their respective teams. Clarke had only one triple hundred in this year and remaining year was not anything special to talk about so his name should have been in the list instead of Clarke.

    But the case for Ajmal not being nominated as 'Cricketer of the year' (forget the list) is mind boggling as Amla, Clarke and Philander are not regular part of the T20 teams for their country and even if they have played any game, it was not a great performance from them in this format, whereas Saeed Ajmal has outstanding record in all the three ICC APPROVED FORMATS (tests, odi and t20) and fully deserves the Cricketer of the Year award.

  • Saleemuddinfaisal on September 10, 2012, 13:27 GMT

    I don't care much about ICC, Saeed Ajmal is my "Cricketer of the Year"! Mr. Saad nice article by the way to show the reality to the world, keep it up!

  • Shariq-M on September 10, 2012, 13:26 GMT

    wonderful article saad. I think when Saad is mentioning 9 best test, he is mentioning 9 out of 12 during the period considered for selection, not for ajmal entire career 9 best test.

  • on September 10, 2012, 13:24 GMT

    Nice article, Ajmal deserves his place in nomination list instead of Philander. He was very instrumental the other day where Pak beat Aus in 2nd T-20 also. Throughout the year he delivered heart winning performances. The ICC has different standards for Swann and Ajmal. If any white player was not nominated, then ICC will revise list fastly without any outburst of fans. Poor ICC...

  • on September 10, 2012, 13:21 GMT

    I am very strange the criteria of ICC for awards nominees when Hashim Amla and Saeed Ajmal out of the list. No. 1 batsman in One day and top 10 in test and No. 1 bowler in one day and top 10 in test. Can any one explain me the guff or best criteria of ICC for selection.

  • khurramsch on September 10, 2012, 13:11 GMT

    i think we all missing real thing here by saying played vs this team on that ground or comparing averages. I think these stats and everything counts while making long list of players. after that its up to voting system and 32 people voted on that long list. they might not have compared stats that time they just voted on names from long list & whoever gets more votes come here. for test player philanders averages count but i think there is certainly a case for ajmal as cricketr of year as he plays all 3 formats.but again if logic against ajmal is that he played vs lower ranked & on uae only same could go to philandr.

  • Kaleem85 on September 10, 2012, 13:11 GMT

    We are not talking about test cricketer or one dayer of the year we are talking about cricketer of the year, means one who was best in all three formats and ajmal was especially from philander was far better and effective in one days and t20 and tests...though these awards don't matter to a good player like ajmal but by criticizing His exclusion ICC should know that we cricket fans supports our cricket heroes ...

  • on September 10, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    this is simple bias which icc go through always

  • on September 10, 2012, 13:01 GMT

    why were there only 2 pakistani's in a panel of 32??? Was it the infamous "doosra" that makes Ajmal's efforts less credible? Remember, Pakistani's reverse swinging was considered cheating until the English learned it and won the 2005 ashes because of it. I can't help but wonder if it's because no Aussis or English players yet know how to bowl the doosra within legal parameters?

  • Eskay13 on September 10, 2012, 12:59 GMT

    @MHasnainK, fabulous comment!

  • Eskay13 on September 10, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    Even in the analysis carried out using Ajmal's best nine, while he has a decent lead in terms of wickets (these are after all cherry-picked to be his BEST tests during the period), his average is 3.5 runs per wicket higher and his strike rate is almost 15 balls more per wicket. This is quite a powerful statement here - even cherry-picking tests in this manner does not adequately demonstrate Ajmal's domination (phrases like "fantastic by spinners' standards" constitute subjective opinion at best and, in my opinion, should not be brought in to tie up statistical loose ends).

    Ajmal's achievements over this period are certainly, in my opinion, worthy of praise and recognition, even more so given the number of formats he has performed in. In slightly different circumstances, it might well have been possible to squeeze both bowlers into the list. But suggesting that Philander's selection is "unfair" and that the Academy's approach is fundamentally flawed might be pushing it a bit.

  • Eskay13 on September 10, 2012, 12:54 GMT

    Not clear that this article is unbiased in its analysis. The very fact that the author uses Ajmal's "best nine" for comparison purposes suggests either or both of the following: (i) how difficult it is to demonstrate that Ajmal has matched/beat Philander and/or (ii) how passionate a fan the author is of Ajmal and Pakistan cricket and how keen he is to show Ajmal's performance as superior to Philander's.

    Ajmal averages 6 wickets per test (72 from 12) while Philander is marginally better at 6.22 (56 from 9). No doubt Ajmal has played more matches during the period and those backing his inclusion would be justified in pointing that factor out in his defence (Philander, in his first and only match following the end of the qualifying period, picked up 7 wickets, so you just never know I guess!). But it is a very telling move by the author to move along directly to the "best nine" approach without even stopping to acknowledge the most basic wickets-per-game stat.

  • chapathishot on September 10, 2012, 12:46 GMT

    I think even the voting panel thinks that England is useless against spin and the wickets against England dont count for much

  • Aboss on September 10, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    Ajmal is the best spinner in the game right now and deservedly the Cricketer of the Year let alone short-listed. Irts not every year that a bowler picks up 120 wkts across all formats. The Committee missed the chance to promote cricket and the art of spin bowling.

  • on September 10, 2012, 12:42 GMT

    Not selecting Ajmal is absolutely ridiculous. When you shortlist someone for player of the year award, you have to consider his performance in all formats. How can philander be shortlisted when he has taken just 1 ODI wicket and how can Ajmal be neglected when he has taken 72 test(highest) and 37 ODI(second highest) wickets.

  • on September 10, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    A major point ignored in this argument is the fact that South African fast bowlers are quite superior and despite the presence of Steyn and Morkel, Philander held his own and picked up a truck load of wickets. Picking up so many five wicket hauls and one of the fastest to 50 test wickets in the history of test cricket while competing with Steyn et al is a tremendous achievement and deserves a nomination.

    I believe Ajmal should have also been included as he really is the best spin bowler in world cricket. His selection should have been automatic not against another bowler.

  • web_guru2003 on September 10, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    @Hardy1 : No mate. SA's no.1 spot has more to do with Ajmal completely dismantling England in 3 tests than Philinder's performance. If we take that as a qualifier, Ajmal should be winner by far. All this, without taking anything away fomr Philinder.

  • Baber_Baloch on September 10, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    well cool article...nice..........great shafqat sb.........................

  • PHANTOM-X on September 10, 2012, 11:48 GMT

    Saeed Ajmal is THE best after Murali....I think current No.1 south Africans will also struggle against this man...he should have been selected...

  • Baber_Baloch on September 10, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    It all boils down to this: in contrast to Philander, Ajmal took more wickets, was a force in all three formats, was involved in more wins for his side, and defeated the top-ranked side more often Ajaml ..........deserved yessssssssssss

  • Baber_Baloch on September 10, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    if AJMAL belong to india,,Aus,,eng,,south africha then he deserve but..he is from Pak that,,,,,every one know he doing best of the best but he not deserve it is joke of cricket world.

  • on September 10, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    he is a good bowler but i saw him after taking wicket behaviour of Ajmal is just childish its just like monkey action after taking wicket of Shane Watson in second T20 please take action about this .

  • rahulcricket007 on September 10, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    IT'S AMAZING THAT SOME PEOPLE ARE TELLING HERE THAT PHILANDER PEFORMED GOOD IN TESTS . SO HE DESERVE TO BE IN THE LIST . IF THAT IS THE CASE THEN WHY NOT INCLUDE VIRAT KOHLI IN THE LIST ALSO . HE ALSO HAS BEEN A SENSATION IN THE ODIS LAST YEAR . BUT NO THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN BECAUSE ICC WILL SAY THAT VIRAT HAS ONLY PERFORMED GOOD IN ODIS THEN WHY NOT APPLY THE SAME LOGIC TO PHINADER WHO HAS ONLY PERFORMED IN TESTS . CRICKETER OF THE YEAR AWARD SHOULD BE ON THE BASIS OF ALL FORMATS OR AT LEAST 2 FORMATS .AJMAL DESERVES TO IN THE LIST .

  • on September 10, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    I feel Ajmal should have been picked based on his test statistics alone. But bringing in T20 and ODI peformances is just not required. The article could have been a little better. It's really pity that Pakistan is not playing at international venues barring UAE giving less credit to players like Ajmal. I would say Ajmal is less tested when compared to Vernon. Had Pakistan played in Aus, Eng or SA things would have been different. I would love to see Ajmal playing against India.

  • kingcobra85 on September 10, 2012, 11:23 GMT

    So why this clamoring for awards these days ?

  • Emancipator007 on September 10, 2012, 11:16 GMT

    Simply yet tragically the reasons are simple enuf. At this stage, Pakistan is not a high-profile cricket nation DESPITE playing and performing creditably away from their home for all home and away series. No leader of stature (in playing team or in administration) to speak for its case at ICC fora related to IPL,Champions League, ICC snubs.Wanna bet some of the "respected" media figures in the voting academy would be English?.@Nadeem, does not matter if Ajmal did not perform too well in SL. He almost singlehandedly was responsible for 3-0 whitewash of then no. 1 ranked Test team. While Phialnder's performances as a debutant are laudatory (most of them at home), Ajmal has been outstanding without much of a support act. After the decline of world class WI pace stocks, Pakistan has consistently produced the most exhilarating stock of pacers and spinners& deserve plaudits/hosannas/recognition to sustain its domestic fan base deprived of top-tier international cricket at home for years.

  • rahulcricket007 on September 10, 2012, 11:11 GMT

    I JUST WANT TO KNOW FROM ICC WHETHER THEY ONLY COUNTS TESTS PERFORMANCES FOR CRICKETER OF THE YEAR AWARD . BECAUSE HAS ONLY PLAYED TESTS IN THE PERIOD . IF THAT IS THE CASE THEN PHILANDER DESERVES IT BUT IF THE CRICKETER OF THE YEAR AWARD IS GIVEN ON THE BASIS OF PEROFORMANCES IN ALL THE THREE FORMATS THEN AJMAL DESERVES IN THE LIST BECAUSE PHILANDER HASN'T PLAYED IN T20 & ODI .

  • on September 10, 2012, 11:06 GMT

    I never agree with Mr. Saad in perspective of his support for Afridi. but in Ajmal case, i considered him the award winner of test cricketer of the year (when list announced). I dont know what were the merits to finalize the last five players list. But to me Ajmal deserves.

  • Ashishverma123 on September 10, 2012, 10:56 GMT

    Some valid arguments there Saad but what is this 9 best out of 12? Could you re-edit your article and take this bit out? May be not....once printed you can not have only the best part published and erase the not-so-good, similarly you have to look at the 12 tests and do the maths to compare with Vernon. Nonetheless sad that Ajmal is not a part....loss to the spirit of cricket!!

  • MHasnainK on September 10, 2012, 10:44 GMT

    It's not right to compare his best 9 tests with Philander's only 9 tests. I think Ajmal did very well on the basis of the wickets that he took. I wonder how his average and strike rate measure against those of other spinners for the same time period. Nonetheless, so much noise about his exclusion, I believe, is indicative of how disenfranchised Pakistanis are feeling in the cricket world. We have probably started seeing prejudice where there is none. However, that is a different topic for a different time. Ajmal's exclusion should not become a way of discussing this issue.

  • on September 10, 2012, 10:38 GMT

    Good comment by Ymoini. That is why Amir Khan never attend award ceremonies, They shud follow him :)

  • Hardy1 on September 10, 2012, 10:27 GMT

    I should clarify, I do think Ajmal deserved to be nominated and should have been the main competitor for the award, along with Amla.

  • Hardy1 on September 10, 2012, 10:25 GMT

    It's foolish to suggest Philander was his only competition for the last spot. I believe Ajmal did deserve to be nominated but suggesting a caste system and whatnot is unnecessary. If we are to compare him solely to Philander, I think the fact that South Africa are a more watched test team and managed to wrestle the no.1 spot in tests, in a large part thanks to Philander, played in his favour.

  • on September 10, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    The exclusion of Saeed Ajmal from the short list of ICC cricketer of the year 2012 is indeed perplexing considering his achievements during the year as a bowlerIt is universally accepted fact that he is currently the best spinner in the world who has mesmerized and bamboozled many an accomplished batsmen.

  • on September 10, 2012, 10:14 GMT

    Fantastic artilce by the way........well done shafqat....

  • s.a.91 on September 10, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    To be honest, as a fan, I couldn't care less if Ajmal was selected or not. Every batsman thinks twice before facing him and he's our trump card. An award doesn't stop him from knowing he's the best and it doesn't increase or decrease our love for him. And I'm pretty sure he knows that. That's why he himself said he doesn't care if he's not nominated. He wasn't doing all that for an award, anyway.

  • on September 10, 2012, 9:48 GMT

    Why can you people not get over it? By including Ajmal nothing will change...

  • rajatmehra on September 10, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    The numbers comparison that you have done is incorrect. You are comparing Philander's 9 tests with Ajmal's "best" 9 tests. Numbers should be compared in pure terms. Although I feel that Ajmal should have been there in the short list, but in terms of numbers and averages, Philander has been way much better.

  • ygkd on September 10, 2012, 9:15 GMT

    We do not need to rely on the ICC awards process to prove that Vernon Philander and Saeed Ajmal are both very, very exciting prospects. When does Pakistan next play tests against South Africa? I'd like to watch that.

  • guptahitesh4u on September 10, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    Ajmal only performed against Englad, his figures in rest of the matches are not as good as Philander. Also, isn't it funny to compare averages of '9 best matches out of 12'..What if the selector chose to compare '9 worst out of 12', he might be the best spinner at the moment, but he is not the best bowler!!

  • ejsiddiqui on September 10, 2012, 9:03 GMT

    Phillander has been great in Tests and pathetic in ODIs and even not selected by his team for T20s. How can you select him as Player of the year even Amla has a very bad T20 year. In my view, only Sangakara has performed in all formats apart from Ajmal. The player of the year competition should be between Sangakara and Ajmal. Although Phillander is a strong candidate for Test Player of the year.

  • KarachiKid on September 10, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    I dont know why there have been so many more batsmen in the awards list over years (compared to bowlers). Are bowlers lessor of cricketers ? is'nt it a fact that a team has to take 20 scalps to win a test, regardless of score made by the batsmen. Why is this so bloody lop sided. Secondly Ajmal HAD to be cricketer of year nominee over Philander NO QUESTION about that ! I mean its simple, he played ALL formats of the game and excelled in all of them !!!. Secondly if ICC and former cricketers were not so batsmen-centric, then both Philander and Ajmal deserved to be on the list of test cricketers of the year award. So basically is SHAME ON ICC !!!

  • on September 10, 2012, 8:49 GMT

    It is said that a committee of 32 members have shortlisted the names for these awards... Can Cricinfo or someone reviled the names of those persons ?

  • RockcityGuy on September 10, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    The best nine tests argument does not hold water...why not take his worst 9 tests???philander played only 9 tests...btw ASHWIN has 49 wkts from 8 matches...:- ) [though all of them might not be in the said period]

  • on September 10, 2012, 8:39 GMT

    I believe people have missed out on something. Pakistan is renowned for its fast bowling production. How many good in form fast bolwers did Pakistan have in the past one year? Not a single one. So Ajmal did what he did without much support from the other end. Pakistan put mediocre targets and he was there to help us defend them. And now since last august we have jumped from a lowly 6th position to above INDIA at 4th. All because of one person. And yet he is ignored. So Ajmal performed even when his team didn't perform. As for Philander he has a pretty established team from the start. The batsmen are great in his time. They posted big scores. As for the other end of bowling, we always knew who he was being assisted by. Yes he swung and seamed the ball both in and out of the batsman and was exceptional but look at the conditions and circumstances he did it in.

  • Tahir_Anjum on September 10, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    @ Abhro Gupta :totally agree with u bro.. and thanks for supporting on this Ajmal issue.. to all of u.. all Indians.. Really really nice read that.

  • Tahir_Anjum on September 10, 2012, 8:32 GMT

    @ Smylee : U forgot to mention 120 Wickets buddy!! Fuss is all about performence in all three formates. How the hell can you nominate someone on the base of just one format???

  • on September 10, 2012, 8:28 GMT

    saeed ajmal is class. icc is third class administration

  • on September 10, 2012, 8:21 GMT

    I like what Ajmal had to say regarding this bizarre act. He said he is fine with not being elected, and will try even harder to get selected next year. Only a gem can have such sort of thinking. And just like Aleem Darr! who was first ignored for the best umpire award over Simon Taufel, but has been unstoppable since then just because of his positive attitude and pure hard work. Ajmal is going to succeed the same way!

  • pulkit10 on September 10, 2012, 8:16 GMT

    Firstly, the committee should at least try to include as many bowlers as batsmen on the list. This bias against the bowlers really baffles me (Steyn was great this year, so was Morkel, same goes for Finn and Cummins). Seriously, some of these bowlers performed way better than Micheal Clarke (who's only there because he made a 300 against India at home) so it is ridiculous that they aren't there.

    As for Ajmal, I'm hardly surprised. He might have a huge fan base but the media and the officials both insist on overlooking his talent all the time (remember all those articles declaring Swann as the best spinner in the game?). He's been fantastic for a few years now and really commands some respect as a bowler - the batsmen seem to realize this but the ICC doesn't. It is also unfair to say that Ajmal should have gone in at the expense of Philander as they have both been great (Philander has had a terrific debut) and thus, deserve a spot each in the nominations.

    Only the awards suffer here.

  • Lewanay on September 10, 2012, 8:12 GMT

    Comparing Ajmal's exclusion to wrong decision of an umpire which can't be challenged or DRSed is I guess stupid. The selectors had every thing in front of them in super slow mo, they had one year of stats in front of them, they had enough time on their hands to decide and still they made a wrong decision. If a formal protest by PCB a can initiate (hopefully) a review of selection process, then a boycott should definitely put more pressure on stupid selectors to make a right decision. Come on people it is one year of consistent hard work from Ajmal. He might not be lucky enough to do the same next year (don't forget the injuries one might face). Appreciate, acknowledge where it is due.

  • Zahidsaltin on September 10, 2012, 8:09 GMT

    Enough is said and PCB should leave the matter to be rested. Cricket is a game of stats and ICC and cricket fans all over the globe know that the choices are wrongly made. ICC is right in saying that they can not change the thing now as it is not a selection but election.

  • kaidranzer on September 10, 2012, 8:08 GMT

    @T20 WC bashers: Please don't try to get a sense of superiority by deriding T20 and claiming to be Test purists. It's been 135 years since the first Test match was played. How many countries play cricket today? I can count 10 discounting the associates. Why has cricket not progressed? Test cricket will remain the elite form of cricket. But to attract new members you need something like T20. No one likes to play a game at which you keep loosing and T20 levels the playing field considerably. T20 can serve as an introduction to cricket and ODIs can help new teams in learning to set attacking and defensive field placings according to different situations, forming partnerships, bowling in tandem, etc. Once they get that right, they can have a shot at Test cricket. So please don't ridicule and discard T20 before seeing the big picture.

  • UK_Chap on September 10, 2012, 8:04 GMT

    There appear to be a few notably disingenuous comments from people suggesting he has only done great in the UAE. That is incorrect, he started playing international cricket quite late in his life and he had first international game in Aus in 2010. Understandably he did not really shine being his first game. But since then he has grown in character and stature as a bowler.He played in England in 2010 and did excellent, helping Pakistan to win a test match against england. Pakistan may have won more had their batting not let down so often that their bowling never really got the chance to get at England. He also bowled in two T20 games against Aus in England and help Pakistan win those. He is unrecognisable from the bowler he was at the beginning of his career, his self belief and confidence now shows when he comes onto bowl. I am sure he will have plenty more opportunites to exalt himself to greater achievements.

  • golgo_85 on September 10, 2012, 8:03 GMT

    @ raviteja, what are you on about? Do you think there would've been an issue at all if this was over a "Test Cricketer of the Year" award?? Can you name the rock that you are under??

    And Saad, man, you're right on the money there - Ajmal should've been nominated for the sheer fact that he performed magnificantly in all formats. It's nothing but politics. I can understand Philander winning the emerging player of the year and definitely getting a nomination for Test Player of the Year award BUT no way is it plausible to nominate someone for the Cricketer of the Year when they've only performed well in one format over someone who... ... Oh why do I even bother?!!

  • on September 10, 2012, 8:01 GMT

    While I agree that Ajmal deserved to be there in the list...the best 9 tests argument is ridiculous. It's like saying if you want to compare Tendulkar to Bradman, pick his best 54 tests and averages in those tests

  • on September 10, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    @Krunal Patel. What ever Philander has done is inside fast bowling paradises which help seam bowlers. He has done nothing in subcontinent conditions. Thats the true test for fast bowlers. Ajmal in comparison with Philander has performed in all forms of cricket. You are nominating candidates for ICC cricketer of the year. I would expect the judges to look for players who has played and done exceedingly well in forms of cricket and not only in Test Cricket (the case with Philander) @Nora Fight Gear. Ajmal's exclusion is unfortunate to say the least. He deserved better. What I dont understand is why do people need to bring Indian cricket team esp Sachin Tendulkar in discussions which has got nothing to do with him? There is no Sachin mentioned anywhere in the article but still you have brought him up in your comment. Funny to say the least!

  • MianMoosa on September 10, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    i am watching & observing cricket & its related issues for last 8 years,,,, but still i have not been able to understand ranking & awards criteria,,,,,, they often disgusting decisions,,, latest of them is of SAEED AJMAL,,,, he ring revolution in art of off spin bowling... his variations are tremendous.... vernon phillander is very talented but he plays only test cricket,,,, but ajmal has performed consistently in all formats ,,,,, still wandering on this decision

  • on September 10, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    First off, as SA I feel it a travesty that Ajmal was not selected nor elected. His performances over the year has been exceptional to warrant inclusion in the shortlist, let alone the longlist. I do, however disagree with trying to make Philander the 'fall guy' though. He touched a record that stood for over a 100 years. Not even Shane Warne or Murali, arguably the best bowlers there ever was, could get close. Judged on that alone, his performances over the year has been just as exceptional as Ajmal's. If there can be only 4 nominees, I feel 1 of the batsmen had to miss out. Sangakara? You're joking! Amla? You can't be serious! Clarke? Mmmmmm...If it was me, I would put Ajmal up against Sangakara and Amla for COTY and let Philander, Clarke and Amla fight it out in the TCOTY award category. I realy feel for Ajmal and all Pakistani's. This snub is hard to comprehend as his performances has not been avg, middle of the road performances but real outstanding ones. Hard 2 ignore even

  • Smylee on September 10, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    The article itself says that Ajmal's strike rate and average is more than Philander then what is this fuss about?

  • hammadfayyaz on September 10, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    @ krunal Patel: then why India is even in rankings format after miserably lost 8 consecutive tests abroad? A feat that takes some time for even BD and ZIM to pass. Performance is a performance where ever you are! Ajmal is just bearing the brunt of associated to PCB who is always been back-stabbed by ICC. I suggest like SA last yr, Pak should also boycott the event this year. Ajmal has been phenomenal throughout the year.

  • Zahidsaltin on September 10, 2012, 7:39 GMT

    (1) IF THERE IS NO PARTIALITY INVOLVED THEN WHY NO ONE ELSE ROSE A VOICE FOR AJMAL THAN THE PAKISTANI WRITERS ONLY. (2) SAAD, WHY TWIST IT TO A COMPETITION BETWEEN PHILANDER AND AJMAL, WHY 3 BATSMEN? LET'S ASK THE EXPERTS TO COMPARE HIM TO SANGAKARA AND CLARK.

  • on September 10, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    i agreed with ajmal's nomination... there is very many of words to saying to doubtfull on ICC's area.... hope our protest will be granted...

  • on September 10, 2012, 7:35 GMT

    he shud be the cricketer of the yaer 2012 no doubt...these days the bats batsmn hav got iss too gud so u hav to consider it also

  • on September 10, 2012, 7:31 GMT

    Atleast include him in "PEOPLES" choice award, so that the real cricket fans can vote for him. I am an Indian, but would certainly vote for Ajman even ahead of Sachin. This guy deserves an award !

  • Lees_Legends on September 10, 2012, 7:28 GMT

    What's the point in including him now, he obviously hasn't been put down as the winner. Only a fool would think that they hadn't planned the winner first, and put down a couple of other nominations to go with him. It's how the oscars work

  • kamran.afzal on September 10, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    Philander was phenomenal in tests. Period. So it doesn't feel too bad when Philander is picked in the "Test Cricketer of the Year" Award shortlist. What baffles me is when Philander is picked for "Cricketer of the Year" Award when he doesn't even feature in 2 of the 3 formats. Unless there's some confusion and the two awards are the same, I think this is the point that needs to be highlighted, rather then contesting who of the two did better in Tests because that is a futile debate.

  • on September 10, 2012, 7:20 GMT

    Still miss quoting facts i see. the ODI and t/20 profermencses count for jack in the TEST cricketer of hte year award.

  • yasir.jaffri on September 10, 2012, 7:11 GMT

    Presently cricket is being played in THREE formats; Test, ODI's and T20's, so logically the Cricketer of the Year Award should account for the performances in all three formats.

    Now coming to the short listed players for the award, the only bowler short listed is Vernon Philander whose performance during the assessment period (04Aug2011 to 04Aug2012) is as under:

    Tests: 63 Wickets in 10 Matches at an Average of 15.96 ODI's: 1 Wicket in 1 Match at an Average of 39.00 T20's: No Match Played

    Compare the above stats with the stats of Saeed Ajmal during the assessment period:

    Tests: 72 Wickets in 12 Matches at an Average of 24.29 ODI's: 37 Wickets in 22 Matches at an Average of 22.57 T20's: 11 Wickets in 8 Matches at an Average of 14.72

    MAKE UP YOUR OWN MINDS GUYS

  • khurramsch on September 10, 2012, 7:07 GMT

    many palyers play team ranked below but only few acheive something not all. so this argument that he played vs this team or that team is not a logical one.

  • khurramsch on September 10, 2012, 7:05 GMT

    for test player of the year these explainations are ok but for cricketer of year i think ajmal has strong case . doing well in 3 formats. but its not a big issue. everybody know what he is capable of so no worries. however icc should review system it should not come to personal favroutes & prefrences.

  • khurramsch on September 10, 2012, 7:03 GMT

    @kurnal & people who say "played against this" Played at this pitch": it is astonishing when people come up with such coment. ok lets agree with you then answer this, when ajmal from 5th ranked play a team which is no1 and check players avreages of english against spin( bell was nearly 100 in 2011 before uae series) and ajmal takes wickets and according to you guys its pitch & sometimes ability of other teams. OK lets agree for a moment. then when ashwin playes from a team which is few months ago no1. vs NZ ( a team ranked 8th) with new players & poor batting averages. when ashwin takes wickets against them there are articles flooding on media about his brilliance?what you say to that then? look many teams play low ranked teams, & many players play but only few acheive something so what i want to say that unless icc say that these teams are not full members everything matters.

  • on September 10, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    Wait, by the statistics in this article Philander was a FAR better bowler in test cricket: Average 16.57 vs. 20.11, strike rate 33.1 vs. 47.98. Wait, these statistics were for the cherry-picked best 9 of 12 tests for Ajmal? For his actual test matches in that period (according to the link in the article) his average was 24.29 and strike rate 56.0. No contest, then, Philander was by far the better bowler.

  • mazke on September 10, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    It s an unfair treats with Ajmal. As Philander has no contribution at all in ODIs and T20s so he has just no marks in those formats so how on earth a player can get this nomination over Ajmal. South Africa itself does not have much faith in him to put him in all the formats. I guess it is quite clear now and please ICC think about it once again and be fair with the man (Ajmal).

  • on September 10, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    What you know Kruna about the Game?

    Do you know what is averages of Indian Cricketers outside of Sub-Continent?

    Even i remember a charity match against Kenya which was declared official and international after Sachin scored a Century.

    Do you know how many times Sachin scored Centuries against Kenya,Bangladesh and Zimbabwe?

  • khurramsch on September 10, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    @praful_cric : mate can you specify in which countries philander played which you name world? he only played in SA, NZ and england. & he was brilliant in NZ & SA but in england?

  • scdkee on September 10, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    It has been such frustration for Pakistani fans over the years with the ICC awards. We've had near misses all because of exogenous, eventually embarrassing circumstances, when our players were all set to be handed over the awards. First it was Asif in 2008, when he was caught with drugs at the Dubai airport and hence was not nominated for the awards that year, despite a fantastic one year. Then it was Aamir who was all set for the emerging player of the year, if not the player of the year award and the spot fixing saga took place. And now we've been denied Ajmal's award. There's a limit to taking it on your chin and moving on. I know the awards aren't the end of the world, in fact much less than that, but its always nice to be acknowledged and appreciated.

  • on September 10, 2012, 6:49 GMT

    I agree that Ajmal should have been included...but not in place of Philander....Philander was equally incredible in Tests and keep in mind...this is for the Best Test Cricketer not best in all formats.... i think that Ajmal should have been selected instead of Sangakkara...

  • adnan_rifat84 on September 10, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    @praful cric tell me where else Philander took wickets when he was out from South Africans fast pitches? Ajmal is king and top on 3 formats of cricket? is Philander too? so let him bowl in T20 and ODI's if he is that good..

  • Korn28 on September 10, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    I think Mr. Saad Shafqat has overrated this poor little fellow who has a lot more to learn to be a good decent cricketer.

    Who is this Ajmal? He is not a big deal @ all. I dont see him as a match winnig bolwer. He might have done it on a handful of occasions but there are plenty of times where batsman has taken him on and given him enough the trashing he deserves. As everybody says Ajmal might be good in terms of figures but I have the question weather he has the other qualities which would make him a good cricketer. The answer is NO! Ajmal seriously lacks gentlemen qualities which needs to be in a good cricketer. He seriously lacks sportsmanship and has zero respect to others.

    The likes of Kallis,Dravid, Shiv,Trott are players with good gentlemen qualities going along side their preformance. I think those facts too are considered in voting since cricket is a game of gentlemen. So it's better to exclude a player of the caliber of Ajmal from getting an award which he doesn't des

  • on September 10, 2012, 6:26 GMT

    Ajmal was the most successful bowler, in all three format in past season. But philander in there list. Philander was only success in test cricket. I could not understand why philander in that list. Also sachin is wrong decision

  • nthuq on September 10, 2012, 6:10 GMT

    Ajmal's numbers and the awe inspiring way he is cheered when given the ball in the recent T20s puts no doubt in my mind whether it is Ajmal or Philander who deserves the nomination. However, the point has been made and there's no need for the PCB to go any further. I'm sure the relevant committee realises the mistake it has made.

  • on September 10, 2012, 6:05 GMT

    ajmal doesn't deserve anything. All he has done is in dubai, outside of that he hasn't done anything. ICC is right on not putting him in the list. People that don't understand the game can cry all they want.

  • Match-winner on September 10, 2012, 6:03 GMT

    ….Nothing to take away from Philander, who is a great bowler, but in the selection period, Ajmal has been far better player! I, like many of us am sure, try not to be emotionally biased when it comes to Pakistan, and like to call a spade a spade, and here it's important to back Ajmal as he stands out clearly! And Pakistani or not, you should at least have the guts to admit it @Nadeem1976! Go team Pakistan!!!

  • on September 10, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    I agree he should have been included in the list!

  • sharidas on September 10, 2012, 5:52 GMT

    Ajmal certainly would deserve to be considered for nomination. But protesting against his exclusion and boycotting the function will only show Pakistan in bad light. Why dont Pakistan just respect the Players who were nominated. I am positive that Ajmal is a good sport and he certainly would not be bothered by all this.

  • omairhr on September 10, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    Why doesn't PCB arrange a ceremony and give away awards to cricketers for their services?

  • on September 10, 2012, 5:44 GMT

    Ajmal exclusion is not justifiable at all, Vernon Philander never played a test on subcontinent or in batsman friendly placid road. However, PCB should not boycott ICC's Award

  • abdullahiqbal on September 10, 2012, 5:38 GMT

    icc should review this dicasion bacuse philiner is best bowler for test not for oneday and t20 and saeed ajmal is best for test, oneday,and t20 heis the no2 intest ranking no1 in oneday and no2 int20ranking .now wich one is best ?heis higest ranking bowler intheworld inall cricket he is star of all cricket fans please goajmal goooooooooooo......

  • ymoini on September 10, 2012, 5:31 GMT

    Lets also not forget the fact that Ajmal plays all his matches away from home. His overall record would only have been better if this had been the case.

  • on September 10, 2012, 5:30 GMT

    @Hosh...

    Its not about a stupid award, its just about the statement. True that Ajmal himself isn't that much concerned over it but what PCB is after is very much true. The stats posted by Saad Shafqat reflects that Ajmal's performance was indeed better than Philander's. PCB do no care about the award, they just want JUSTICE!

  • DeemiZafar on September 10, 2012, 5:29 GMT

    Dear @Nadeem1976: There are more POints against Philander in the essay than the one-and-a-half you've been able to muster against Ajmal in your comment. I respect your opinion, but certainly someone who's played twice the number of rubbers is bound to stumble upon the odd failure in comparison to the one who's played only a handful.

  • on September 10, 2012, 5:20 GMT

    Philander only performed well at home or against weakish New Zealand batting line up. He even struggled against England in first two tests but did well in the third one. And Philander is just limited to test cricket wherelse Ajmal is the only cricketer to be so successful in all forms of the game.

  • on September 10, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    I think pcb should boycott the ICC awards and instead on same day arrange an event of Pakistan cricket awards where Saeed Ajmal should be given the award for cricketer of the year for his outstanding performances in all formats for Pakistan and he should awarded with big money along with that.

  • DaGameChanger on September 10, 2012, 5:08 GMT

    As the title indicates, He should 've been nominated. Although you have to agree Philander played against Australia, Eng, Srilanka and Newzealand..all 4 sides vs Ajmal who had 3 out of 12 with Zim and Bangladesh. If you dont count those, and with better average Philander wins. But nonetheless, Ajmal should've been in the list.

  • praful_cric on September 10, 2012, 4:48 GMT

    I will go with ICCs decision. Ajmal has performed well only in the subcontinent pitches (that to not in SL tour) while Philander has done some good outings around the world.

  • mtalhas on September 10, 2012, 4:38 GMT

    Where are Aamir Sohail and Majid Bhatti?

  • on September 10, 2012, 4:12 GMT

    @Nadeem1976, if you are talking about the performance of Ajmal against SL in SL, was not an impressive one. Then what about Philander, You didn't see the contrast when he was playing against ENG in ENG. Ajmal never played in Pakistan. So that the thought about the Crickter of the Year that must be in all format. Test/ODIs and T20s. Then you won't see anyother player who are playing all these format. Like Hasim+Philander (only Test/ODI), Clark (Test/ODI) Only Sangakara is play 3 format. So that there must be 2 nomination (Sangakara and Ajmal) both are exceptional. Thats the reason we want to see Ajmal in that List. Just see Hashim/Philander/Clark are these players whose their own country is not selecting for all 3 formats and how silly ICC keen to select those players for Crickets of the Year. ICC must rethink, rethink and rethink,, I HOPE things are clear for everyone including ICC.

  • on September 10, 2012, 4:09 GMT

    Ajmal deserved it, there is no doubt about that. very well written article

  • Usm93 on September 10, 2012, 3:28 GMT

    Well said,ICC should review it's decision

  • Nadeem1976 on September 10, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    by the way Ajmal is currently most entertaining and genius cricketer in the world. He is magicians and magicians don't worry about awards.

  • Nadeem1976 on September 10, 2012, 3:20 GMT

    Ajmal last year performance is not as impressive as of Phelinder therefore i agree with this selection. Ajmal did not bowl well against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka in test matches. That's one series where he failed in test and then against Eng in ODI's he failed too.

    So why to cry my dear fellow Pakistani fans, just chill and hope next year Ajmal gets it.

  • Hosh on September 10, 2012, 3:15 GMT

    I dont understand why the Pakistanis are making such a big fuss over some stupid award that most people don't really care about. PCB why not be the bigger person and let Ajmal's performance talk and come back with even a stronger case in next year's awards?

    Well done to Ajmal for just getting on with it. Life is too short, PCB just let it go.

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  • Hosh on September 10, 2012, 3:15 GMT

    I dont understand why the Pakistanis are making such a big fuss over some stupid award that most people don't really care about. PCB why not be the bigger person and let Ajmal's performance talk and come back with even a stronger case in next year's awards?

    Well done to Ajmal for just getting on with it. Life is too short, PCB just let it go.

  • Nadeem1976 on September 10, 2012, 3:20 GMT

    Ajmal last year performance is not as impressive as of Phelinder therefore i agree with this selection. Ajmal did not bowl well against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka in test matches. That's one series where he failed in test and then against Eng in ODI's he failed too.

    So why to cry my dear fellow Pakistani fans, just chill and hope next year Ajmal gets it.

  • Nadeem1976 on September 10, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    by the way Ajmal is currently most entertaining and genius cricketer in the world. He is magicians and magicians don't worry about awards.

  • Usm93 on September 10, 2012, 3:28 GMT

    Well said,ICC should review it's decision

  • on September 10, 2012, 4:09 GMT

    Ajmal deserved it, there is no doubt about that. very well written article

  • on September 10, 2012, 4:12 GMT

    @Nadeem1976, if you are talking about the performance of Ajmal against SL in SL, was not an impressive one. Then what about Philander, You didn't see the contrast when he was playing against ENG in ENG. Ajmal never played in Pakistan. So that the thought about the Crickter of the Year that must be in all format. Test/ODIs and T20s. Then you won't see anyother player who are playing all these format. Like Hasim+Philander (only Test/ODI), Clark (Test/ODI) Only Sangakara is play 3 format. So that there must be 2 nomination (Sangakara and Ajmal) both are exceptional. Thats the reason we want to see Ajmal in that List. Just see Hashim/Philander/Clark are these players whose their own country is not selecting for all 3 formats and how silly ICC keen to select those players for Crickets of the Year. ICC must rethink, rethink and rethink,, I HOPE things are clear for everyone including ICC.

  • mtalhas on September 10, 2012, 4:38 GMT

    Where are Aamir Sohail and Majid Bhatti?

  • praful_cric on September 10, 2012, 4:48 GMT

    I will go with ICCs decision. Ajmal has performed well only in the subcontinent pitches (that to not in SL tour) while Philander has done some good outings around the world.

  • DaGameChanger on September 10, 2012, 5:08 GMT

    As the title indicates, He should 've been nominated. Although you have to agree Philander played against Australia, Eng, Srilanka and Newzealand..all 4 sides vs Ajmal who had 3 out of 12 with Zim and Bangladesh. If you dont count those, and with better average Philander wins. But nonetheless, Ajmal should've been in the list.

  • on September 10, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    I think pcb should boycott the ICC awards and instead on same day arrange an event of Pakistan cricket awards where Saeed Ajmal should be given the award for cricketer of the year for his outstanding performances in all formats for Pakistan and he should awarded with big money along with that.