Pakistan news September 5, 2012

ICC rules out Ajmal award inclusion

The ICC has shot down the PCB's objection to Saeed Ajmal's omission from the ICC's Test Cricketer of the Year award shortlist, stating that it was an independent jury who cast out Ajmal from the longlist. The PCB, however, questioned the ICC process and urged it to revise the selection procedure.

The PCB had lodged a protest with the ICC after Ajmal was left off the award shortlist last week. The ICC, though, refused to reconsider Ajmal's case.

"The ICC has no authority to change the results of the academy," an ICC spokesman told ESPNcricinfo. "The voting results are final and binding on everyone."

In 2010, England offspinner Graeme Swann was omitted from the longlist for the Cricketer of the Year award prepared by ICC itself but after the ECB put up his case, the ICC included his name after admitting an oversight.

Unlike Swann in 2010, 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.

Ajmal, 34, took 72 Test wickets between August 4, 2011 and August 6, 2012 - the qualifying period for the award - including 24 at 14.70 as Pakistan swept aside England, the then No. 1 side in the world, 3-0 in January. He has climbed to No. 3 in the ICC Test bowling rankings and is the highest ranked spinner.

"His [Ajmal] tally is substantial enough to make him a notable performer throughout the year," a PCB spokesman said. "It's very surprising not just for Pakistan but for the whole cricketing world that such a deserving player isn't in the final list. The PCB understands that there is a serious need to revise the procedure that eventually overlooked the best man to be picked."

Despite the PCB's concern, the ICC will not reconsider Ajmal's name. "It is important to understand the process which is very simple and transparent, and monitored by independent auditor Ernst & Young," the ICC spokesman said. "The longlists are prepared by a five-member Selection Panel which is headed by Mr Clive Lloyd and this year included Clare Connor (England), Tom Moody (Australia), Carl Hooper (West Indies) and Marvan Atapattu (Sri Lanka).

"The shortlists are then created after the individual player awards are voted for by an academy of 32 highly credentialed cricket personalities from around the world. The top four players in each category with most votes are included in the shortlists."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent