x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Saeed Ajmal deserves to be on ICC awards shortlist

Pakistan are right to be irked by Saeed Ajmal's absence from the shortlist of nominees for this year's ICC awards, writes Ahmed Rizvi.

Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal celebrates taking the wicket of Australia's Cameron White during the first Twenty20 match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday, September 5, 2012. Hassan Ammar / AP Photo
Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal celebrates taking the wicket of Australia's Cameron White during the first Twenty20 match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday, September 5, 2012. Hassan Ammar / AP Photo

If you still don't believe cricket is a batsman's game, look at the shortlist of nominees for this year's International Cricket Council awards.

In the Cricketer of the Year category are three batsmen - Hashim Amla, Michael Clarke and Kumar Sangakkara - and a lone bowler, Vernon Philander. The same four have also been nominated for the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year.

Among the nominees for the ICC Cricketer of the Year in one-day internationals, Lasith Malinga is the lone bowler; the others are Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and Sangakkara again.

The players have been nominated for their performances during the period between August 4, 2011 and August 6, 2012, and there can be no arguments against their merit.

Sangakkara (1,444 runs in Tests, 1,457 in ODIs), Clarke (1,355 runs in Tests, 759 in ODIs), Amla (915 runs in Tests, 419 in ODIs), Kohli (1,733 runs in ODIs) and Dhoni (859 runs in ODIs) have certainly earned their place.

Still, Pakistan are right to be irked by Saeed Ajmal's absence from the shortlist.

The off-spinner, who has enhanced his reputation in the series against Australia here, was the leading wicket taker in international cricket during the award period. He was the highest wicket taker in Test cricket (72) during that period; Philander had 56. In ODIs, his tally (37 from 23 matches) was the second highest behind Malinga's 62 from 37 games.

If you add his 11 victims in Twenty20s, Ajmal had an aggregate haul of 120. R Ashwin, with 70, was the next best. Those numbers certainly make him worthy of a place on that shortlist.

 

arizvi@thenational.ae