Pakistan news September 10, 2012

PCB to honour Ajmal - Ashraf

ESPNcricinfo staff

Saeed Ajmal, the Pakistan offspinner, will receive an award from the PCB following the World Twenty20, for being the 'No. 1 bowler in the world', board chief Zaka Ashraf has said. The announcement comes in the wake of Ajmal not being on ICC's shortlist for Test Player of the Year.

"Saeed Ajmal, we still say you're the No. 1 bowler in the world and the PCB recognises you, and whether someone gives you the prize, that is immaterial, we don't care," Ashraf said. "We congratulate you and when you come back home [after the World T20] we will give you a prize for being the No. 1 bowler in the world. The PCB is with you."

Ajmal was on the longlist for the ICC award, which will be announced at a function in Colombo on September 15, but did not make the shortlist that included South Africa's Hashim Amla and Vernon Philander, Australia's Michael Clarke and Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara. Subsequently, the PCB had lodged a protest with the ICC regarding his omission, but the ICC had said it could not revise the list as it had been put together by an independent jury. That prompted talk of a possible boycott of the awards function by Pakistan.

While the boycott wasn't a certainty, Ashraf said, he was hoping for a last-minute revision. "There is some error, I think the ICC should try to rectify it. At least his name should have been on the shortlist," Ashraf said. "I'm still hopeful the ICC will make a positive move by trying to rectify it.

"The PCB hasn't decided as yet to boycott [the awards ceremony], that will be an extreme step. But we are under extreme pressure. There have been demonstrations in Pakistan, people have come out in support of Saeed Ajmal; there was a big demonstration held in front of the PCB office. We've conveyed that to the ICC. It has [even] been taken up in the parliament in Pakistan, there's a big debate going on."

Ajmal had taken 72 Test wickets between August 4, 2011, and August 6, 2012, (the qualifying period for the award). He climbed to No. 3 in the Test bowlers' rankings and, last week, took the No. 1 spot in the ODI rankings.