KARACHI: Pakistan on Friday announced that they would make a token appearance at the ICC awards ceremony in Colombo on (Saturday) in spite of having serious reservations over the omission of Saeed Ajmal from the shortlist for the world player of the year title.
A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman said that the Board would raise this issue at the upcoming meting of ICC’s Chief Executives Committee besides using other forums to register its protest.
Pakistan had threatened to boycott the ICC awards ceremony after Ajmal – regarded as the world’s top spinner – was ignored in a shortlist announced last month for various ICC awards.
However, following a meeting of senior Board officials that was headed by PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf in Lahore on Friday it was decided that Pakistan won’t boycott the ceremony. But, it was also decided that senior PCB officials will stay away from the event.
“Although the PCB’s has reservations on the issue yet it has decided not to boycott the awards ceremony and as a token we send some squad members to the event. However no senior board official will attend the ceremony,” said the PCB spokesman.
Pakistan will now be pressing for a review of the awards’ mechanism.
“Pakistan Cricket Board believes that the omission of Saeed Ajmal’s name from the short-lists of Cricket of the year and Test Cricketer of the year is injustice to the talent and achievements of the said player. The PCB feels that the ICC’s process of the short-listing needs to be reviewed and there should be mechanism to correct errors,” he stressed.
“Although the PCB has strongly registered its protest with ICC already and has conveyed them the sentiments of the people of Pakistan and fans and legends of cricket on this issue, yet to underpin our principled stance on Saeed Ajmal’s case it has been decided that the matter will be raised in the upcoming CEC meeting of the ICC and a review of the process would to 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.”
The reason why PCB was ready to take on the ICC over Ajmal’s case is the fact that most experts agree that the prolific off-spinner deserves to be in the shortlist for world player of the year award.
Ajmal, who bamboozles even the best of batters with his ‘doosra’, accumulated a total of 72 Test wickets at an average of 24.29 during the qualifying period from August 4, 2011 to August 6 this year.
His haul of 24 wickets at 14.70 against England – then the world’s best Test side — helped Pakistan achieve a 3-0 clean sweep in the Test in UAE earlier this year. Ajmal was also hugely successful in One-day Internationals and Twenty20 format during the voting period.
Pakistan were sure that Ajmal, who was on the initial list of nominees, would make the cut for the shortlist announced by the ICC last week. However, the four-man shortlist just included Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara, Australia’s Michael Clarke and South Africa’s Hashim Amla and Vernon Philander.