KARACHI: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has issued the final shortlists for the ICC awards nominees for different categories, including the ICC cricketer of the year, the ODI cricketer of the year, and Test cricketer of the year. It was quite shocking to see Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal being discarded from the ICC awards nominees for ICC cricketer of the year and Test cricketer of the year categories. The prolific spinner has 120 international wickets to his name between the period August 4, 2011 and August 6, 2012 (the period for which the awards will be given), which is the most by any bowler. Ajmal also has 72 Test wickets, again the most by any bowler, during this period. But the ICC did not feel that his achievements merited even a nomination in any of the categories.
The decision to discard Ajmal from the cricketer of the year category has left his fans in despair and we believe that the ICC has shown bias against the top Pakistani bowler. It is pertinent to mention that at present Ajmal is ranked third in both Test and ODI bowler rankings, while he is second-ranked in the Twenty20 rankings. Discarding such a bowler from the ICC nominees list who is currently ranked among the top three in all the three formats of the game is an inexplicable decision. The ICC must review its selection policy for its annual awards in order to prevent criticism in future.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2012.