ICC awards nominations: Why didn’t Ajmal make it?

Published: September 4, 2012

A hundred and twenty wickets in tests, ODIs, and T20s! And he still does not get nominated for the the Cricketer of the Year award? PHOTO: REUTERS

 “I don’t mind that I have not been shortlisted for any of the awards. I will try even harder next year and try to win the award next year Insha’Allah.”

Saeed Ajmal’s reaction at not being shortlisted for any of the ICC awards that he was initially nominated for was probably the calmest reaction among former Pakistani cricketers and Pakistan cricket supporters. The news that Ajmal was no longer a nominee for any of the ICC awards came as a shock to every Pakistan cricket fan that I know.

So are we Pakistani fans cribbing for no reason or are we justified for feeling that Saeed Ajmal was unfairly treated?

Firstly, lets take a look at the shortlist of nominees for three of the awards:

ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year:

MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Lasith Malinga, Kumar Sangakkara.

ICC Test Cricketer of the Year:

Hashim Amla, Michael Clarke, Vernon Philander, Kumar Sangakkara.

ICC Cricketer of the Year:

Hashim Amla, Michael Clarke, Vernon Philander, Kumar Sangakkara.

They’re all great cricketers, no doubt!

What do you think the criteria is behind selecting these cricketers as the shortlisted nominees for these awards?

The awards are for the period between August 5, 2011, and August 4, 2012. Let’s take a look at who achieved what during this period in ODIs and Tests.

ODI performances:


Typically I show the leading 10 run scorers whenever I write about leading batsmen in a series or a year, and so on. Here, I had to increase the list further to highlight Dhoni’s performance considering he’s one of the nominees for the ODI Award.

Yes, Dhoni has been nominated for the ODI Cricketer of the Year award even though he was not among the 10 leading run scorers during the year.

So what criteria do you think were used for shortlisting Kohli, Sangakkara, and Dhoni among the batsmen for the ODI award?

From what it seems to me, they went for the two leading run scorers (Kohli and Sangakkara) and the one with the highest average (Dhoni).

Don’t you think that maybe Dilshan should have made the cut instead of Dhoni? Dhoni’s average is significantly bloated because of his not-outs, which account for 50% of the 22 innings that he played during the stated period.


The choice of Lasith Malinga among the shortlist of nominees for the ODI Cricketer of the Year award seems more straight forward ─ he is miles ahead of any other bowler in terms of number of wickets taken during the stated period.

Test Performances:


Now you can see a pattern emerging among the choices made for the shortlisted nominees. For the three batsmen chosen ─ Sangakkara, Clarke, and Amla ─ the choices are of the two leading run scorers and the one with the highest average during the stated period, exactly the way it was done for the ODIs, as shown above.

But does it make sense? What makes Hashim Amla more deserving than Mohammad Hafeez? Or for that matter, Shivnarine Chanderpaul? (Please don’t read this as a comparison between the class of these batsmen. After all, the nominations have been made based on these performances and not on how good a batsman is technically or how good he looks while executing those cover drives.)


Now this is where it gets really confusing. While the same sort of criteria seems to have been used for selecting three batsmen as the nominees for the ODI and Test awards, this is not the case for bowlers.

Saeed Ajmal is the leading wicket taker in Tests during the stated period, just like Malinga was for ODIs. But while Malinga was nominated for the ODI Cricketer of the Year award, Ajmal has been ignored for the Test Player of the Year award.


The bowler nominated for the Test award, Vernon Philander, has undoubtedly had a phenomenal year. No one even comes close to his average and strike rate, however, he is not the leading wicket taker.

Moreover, if the leading average or strike rate were the criteria for selecting the nominee from bowlers, then it should have been Sunil Narine or Steven Finn who should have been nominated for the ODI Cricketer of the Year award, and not Malinga.

Whereas, if wickets was the criterion, then it definitely Saeed Ajmal should have been nominated for the Test Cricketer of the Year award. Don’t forget that those performances also include match-winning performances in each of the three Tests that Pakistan beat the world number one Test team in.

How can this be ignored? Seriously!

We are not done yet. There is the final category, the Cricketer of the Year award, wherein Ajmal has also been unfairly excluded.

Cricket Performances:


The same three batsmen that were nominated for the Test award, have been nominated for the Cricketer of the Year award, but this time the same criteria, that is two leading run scorers and one with the highest average, was not used.

These are performances of batsmen across all formats (Tests, ODIs, and T20s) during the stated period, and it really makes me wonder why Kohli and Dilshan were ignored from being nominated. Look at how far down the pecking order Amla is, and this time he does not even have the best batting average.


Now this is where the real shock comes.

Just take a look at what Saeed Ajmal has achieved across all formats of cricket during the stated period.

Actually, take a look at it again. No bowler even comes close to that performance.

A hundred and twenty wickets in Tests, ODIs, and T20s! That’s 40 wickets more than the next bowler on the list; and he still does not get nominated for the the Cricketer of the Year award?


Now do you really think that Pakistan fans are cribbing for no reason at all? How can anyone explain the exclusion of Saeed Ajmal from the shortlist of nominees?

I really do not think that there is any logical explanation to this. None whatsoever.

This post originally appeared here.

Read more by Umair here or follow him on Twitter @WellPitched


Umair Qazi

An investment advisor in Dubai who blogs at www.wellpitched.com/ and tweets @WellPitched

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Mohammad Ali Gaad

    injustice is done, Saeed Ajmal with 72 wickets haven’t nominated while People like Dhoni are there. Wah! Great.Recommend

  • adam khan

    if ajmal was white skin he would no dout make it as for the rest that have made it they like to suck up to the icc alotRecommend

  • Anum Athar

    Just plain bias for Pakistanis…you can see that by looking at the extremely biased umpiring decisions made by foreign umpires in nearly every series like yesterday, there was clear stumping chance against australian batsman maxwell (who won the match for australia) but the english third umpire chose to give not out.
    But perhaps this is due to our undoing…we havent left much respect for ourselves.Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/No.Cruncher.1?ref=tn_tnmn Haris Javed

    and then we Pakistanis are accused of being under complex of maltreatment!!!!!Recommend

  • Vikas

    We don’t want to give prize to terrorists. It’s simple. You can go and institute your own Muslim Ummah prize and give to who ever you want.Recommend

  • http://www.twitter.com/SohailAnwer Sohail

    So what do we say now?? ‘Liberals’? Come forwards, and push the author backward, he is mongering for no reason, hena?? Pakistan is conspiracy theorist nations.. Make an excuse, like ICC when putting Ajmal’s name had there Hard Drive full and so the entry was not possible.. Make it, help them.. All your efforts, help us get stronger.. Really!Recommend

  • http://www.twitter.com/SohailAnwer Sohail

    Who the Hell are you to say that, get your own country set str8! Just read on TOI about the S**t in India that now toilets are cleaned by animals..! LolRecommend

  • Pankaj

    [email protected]….

    Ajmal is playing only on the extremely conducive wicket of gulf…. while the rest are palying everywhere and taking wickets and making runs all round the world. I hope it would suffice… please get out of your victimhood mentality.Recommend

  • vickram

    The reason is, there is uniformity of opinion among all cricketing greats (and those who grace the Lords) that Ajmal, in their eyes, is a chucker.

    He has not been officially declared one as yet, maybe because, ICC does not want to antagonize Pakistanis who are known to have a short fuse.

    You may not like it, but, that is the reason…Recommend

  • LoneLiberal

    What is right is right. I commend the author for the fact finding ordeal. The Hindu terrorists above are showing their true colors. Recommend

  • Usman

    Dear author its not only about averages. Its about consistent and match winning performances, throughout the year. And he wasnt selected by BCCI. This selection was by the ICC Panel, of which Pakistan is also a member. Recommend

  • SalSal

    use some proper comment. Just shows your hatred for Pakistanis. Maybe when Ajmal bowls out each batsman, someone in India commits suicide out of jealousy, is that why you are calling him a terrorist?
    There is no proof whatsoever that hes a chucker. On what basis are you calling him one? Thats quite stupid whatever you just said. Seemed like you didnt have anything concrete to suggest so you just blurted out some crapRecommend

  • http://theviewspaper.net AB

    @Anum Athar: Ha! //but the english third umpire chose to give not out.// Ever heard of benefit of doubt?
    //extremely biased umpiring decisions made by foreign umpires in nearly every series//

    Hohoho! Recall when Afridi was strolling out of the crease and got stumped but umpire gave him not out as he thought Afridi was in the crease. Apparently, you missed that :)Recommend

  • amit

    really that’s y ur country is low hdi country and 46% litteracy rate compare to india 75% litteracy rate and medium hdi country and growing economy is two times higher than ur poor country who begging last 65 years in all around the world.Recommend

  • Cool Dude

    Chill out man! U don’t need to response to stupid rubbish..Recommend

  • Haris Javed

    @vickram: well if he is a chucker how would you classify Malinga’s action?Recommend

  • http://www.yahoo.com Atif Yousufzai

    The best reaction is from Ajmal, work hard more in next year, when the average, strike rate and wicket are all highest among other bowlers.

    One more criterion i think you should look at it is the number of victories bowler/batsmen provided to the team due to his performance.Recommend

  • kashif

    @Pankaj: if ajmal gets wickets due to spinning tracks, than kohli and dohni have made all their runs on tracks as flat as motorway, dude show some sense.Recommend

  • Hanif Shah

    Don’t really understand how Indians are reacting to this, they have never had great match winning bowlers. Perhaps that is why the disappointment. If some Indian is hurt then go and compare your bowlers with all the major test playing nations and find out where do you stand. Recommend

  • vickram

    @Haris Javed:

    Pls read my post carefully; my views on Ajmal don’t count with ICC. What counts is the opinion of cricketing greats. Ranatunga said recently, “Watching some of the bowlers’ actions today, I think I might have created a monster.” Who do you think he was referring to ?

    Viv Richards, Michael Holding, Jeff Dujon, Bob Willis, Andy Flower, Greg Chappell, Mark Waugh… all these players have slammed the action of Saeed Ajmal. You just can’t dismiss the views of these players by saying they are jealous or they are anti-Pakistan.

    You and I may not like these people, but the people at ICC value the opinions of these cricketers who are known to be thinkers of the game.

    As I told you, don’t blame me, I am only offering logical explanation to why Ajmal’s name is not on the list. Recommend

  • Ammad Ahmed Khan

    Ajmal is no doubt a good bowler far better then the indian spinners & secondly above scenerio shows the clear influence of indian’s in ICC governing body.Recommend

  • Roti, kapra aur..

    ICC: Indian Cricket ClubRecommend

  • malik

    According to ICC spokesperson: “”The long-lists are prepared by a five-member Selection Panel, which is headed by Mr Clive Lloyd and current year included Clare Connor (England), Tom Moody (Australia), Carl Hooper (West Indies) and Marvan Atapattu (Sri Lanka). After that, 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. ”

    I am sure all these 32 highly-credentialed cricketers are on the pay-roll of BCCI….Recommend

  • Pankaj

    @kashif… for your kind information .. Dhoni and kohli have scored all round the world in past 12 months.. england didn’t get dhoni out in last 9 outings… kohli played some outstanding knocks along with dhoni with great consistency.. unlike ajmal who was only taking wickets on extremely conducive wickets of gulf… no comparison… isn’t that the same wicket where warne bundled out the pakistan for 50 odds run in two innings of a test ?Recommend

  • Green Oval

    Get your head checked, ICC awards and cricket are being discussed here.Recommend

  • Green Oval

    “Dhoti and Kohli have scored all around the world in past 12 months and India got trashed 4-0 in England and 4-0 in Australia. King of dust made roadways at home.Recommend

  • Green Oval

    What about the Indian wickets (Sand Bed) where Ashwin and Ojha took 31 of the 40 Kiwi wickets in the last two tests. How mnay wickets did Ashwin take in Australia where India lost 4-0. In contrast, Ajmal has proved his worth everywhere he has played. Check out his records Sour grapes eh?Recommend

  • Roti, kapra aur..

    haha good one @vickram !

    Ajmal is a chucker that’s the reason he was not considered in any of the award categories..! but will you shed some light on why he was entered in the ICC XI in the first place?

    BTW you have gone through a lot of pain and worked hard in gathering evidence and opinions on bowler’s actions. Recommend

  • Pankaj

    @grren oval…that is precisely the reason they were not included int he list…same applies for azmal..he took all the wickets on the most conducive spin friendly wickets…Dhoni and kohli are selected for ODI awards… and they performed very well across the globe..check ur facts… i think pakistanis are behaving as sour grapes for sure….get a hike..plsRecommend

  • vickram

    @Roti, kapra aur..:

    Pls direct your scorn and anger against Viv Richards, Michael Holding, Jeff Dujon, Bob Willis, Andy Flower, Greg Chappell, Mark Waugh and the 32 highly-credentialed cricketers who voted him out…..

    Surely they know something which you and I do not know…..Recommend

  • Haroon

    The irony is that you can’t even spell literacy. Hahaha thank you for making my day. I enjoy troglodyte bashing.

    Your racist comment shows you for what you really are.

    Where you play your cricket in any given year should not be a contributing factor as a country (especially Pakistan) don’t get to choose where they play. If anything, these players have been playing away from home for several years and have not moaned about it once. Playing at home does make a difference, if only in terms of home comforts, family support etc.

    Interesting points, but please remember that Ajmal’s action was assessed at the Western Australia University biomechanical department a couple of years ago, and was found consistently to be within 15 degrees, therefore legal. They may value the opinions of those esteemed gentlemen, but none of them can (or at least should) argue with hard numbers and facts.

    Personally, I don’t really care about this award. Ajmal is the most potent and feared spinner in the game, period. His own reaction speaks volumes of the man and his focus. Let this small snub spur him on to greater things in the next twelve months, and we’ll be thanking the ICC for this decision. Also, a friend of mine pointed out how close Herath is to Ajmal in terms of numbers. That guy has played outside the subcontinent successfully, yet he is not even in the team. The awards are inconsistent, but certainly not loaded against Pakistan.Recommend

  • AQ

    ..still waiting for ET bloggers to write something about Hashim Amla. He keeps on scoring run and you people keep on ignoring him yet you people have all the time in the world for Shahid Afridi….Recommend

  • Green Oval


    I have checked the facts. India in away games got 4-0 dribbling from Australia and England. Pakistan has been playing away for few years and have beaten all the good teams that include Australia (in England) and England in England. Ajmal has taken wickets every where in all conditions. Recommend

  • Green Oval

    @ Pankaj
    Here is a fact, go find out who just got ranked no 1 ICC ODI bowler. Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/249/ahmad-fuad/ Ahmad Fuad

    Hey Umair,
    Do you really think, ICC will consider these stats???
    Come on… & Excluding Dhoniiii from the list??? No wayyyy…
    Dhoni has honor of losing the top position against England which slammed his team by 4-0 & this was not sufficient for “World Champions”. Australia did the same…
    & that is why he is selected…
    What Ajmal did??? Wickets??? Beat England (world number 1) single handedly???
    Is it sufficient to prove that he is great?
    Come on… he is not.. he can never be… as long as Post 2007 “ICC” is there…Recommend

  • Green Oval

    @ Pankaj
    You are beating the same drum. What are you doing at a Pakistani site, nothing better to do?Recommend

  • vickram

    Saeed Ajmal was tested by the ICC’s Panel of Human Movement at the University of Western Australia in Perth, and cleared a month later. The report, by Professor Bruce Elliott, revealed that all his deliveries were tested and all came within the 15-degree tolerance permitted under ICC regulations. But, as the document made clear, there were caveats to him being allowed to continue bowling in international cricket.

    “The effect cannot be to clear him without limitation in the future,” said the ICC report. “The effect of Prof Elliott’s findings is simply to confirm that Saeed is capable of bowling with an action which complies with ICC regulations.”

    “Saeed Ajmal can continue to bowl in international cricket on the basis he uses an action consistent to that used in the latest independent analysis of his action. However, it is important to emphasise that no bowler is ever cleared, as it is impossible to predict how a player might deliver the ball in the future.” This is what David Richardson, the David Richardson, the ICC general manager (cricket), after the tests were done.

    What the players say is, there is no test-match situation or wicket taking pressure during the tests and it is possible for the subject bowler to limit the movement of his arm in order to be within the 15-degree limit. Simply put, a bowler may well bowl in one way during testing and in another way during actual matches. Whether Ajmal is doing so is a matter to be decided by the experts and not by passionate fans. Recommend

  • Pankaj

    @Green oval… personal attack is the last resort of the uncompetitive…

    The fact will remains the same that he took all this wickets on the spin friendly wickets.. where below average bowler like hafeez taking wicket… let him go and play in england, australia, new zealand, south farica, west indies, india etc.. then only we will know how good he is… even my driver can take wicket in sharjah..

    @ahmad fuad… why are comparing apple with oranges.. Dhoni is selected for best ODI player not best Test player so compare his odi stats not his test stats..

    dammed … ignorance is bliss..Recommend

  • Green Oval

    @ Pankaj
    Personal attack? What you call ” get a hike”. You asked for it so dont be a cry baby, just take it. With regards to your driver taking wickets in Sharjah, big deal, let me tell you, my grandma can take wickets in the Indian sandy turners. Why mention your driver, can he not be good at cricket just because he is your driver, your comments speak the state of your mind. Recommend

  • iqbal

    i think saeed ajmal is best bowler right now in all format for the game,.. some how we indian dosnt consider him….. he is true no. 1 Recommend

  • Bilal

    Dear Indians…………for the sake of argument you have very good economy but now it is two times that we have given money to Somalian pirates to get free your people….so it is not your economy it is your heart which make you good and by the way your GDP is now growing by 5.5% which is very poor…so we can speak a lot as well this was post on cricket you should comment on cricket and don’t be racist. Recommend

  • Green Oval
  • Bilal

    @Pankaj haha yar argument is not valid … did you see Philander taking wickets in Mumbai and dhaka ? Howcome he is selected then ? And where did Clarke score his runs against the worst bowling attack of the decade in his home ground … as for Dhoni and scoring runs everywhere please dont embarrass urself r u talking of the same man who lost 8 straigh test matches ? Recommend

  • hassan


    Even in my street cricket, I cannot bowl with the kind of action that Ajmal has.

    Saeed Ajmal chucks. It’s blindingly obvious to all except to Pakistanis. Recommend

  • Pankaj

    @green oval….lol…u are making out of yourself… if your grandma takes wickets in india then u should give credit to indians to make runs on those wickets…there is something called metaphor..pls try a dictionary to see the meaning…

    @bilal… philander had taken wickets at a amazing strike rate… as far as dhoni is concerned he is selected for his performance in ODI not in test. he had a amazing season .. played a lot of match winning innings…

    I just saw the azmal records in other countries and don’t want to post it to embarrass you.Recommend

  • Bilal


    haha you forget to mention how is it that Philander gets one rule and Ajmal the other? Are you saying that Philander took wickets on dead spinning tracks … Also you didnt answer how is it that Michael Clarke gets in before Ajmal ? Scoring runs against Indian bowlers shouldnt count dont you agree :)Recommend

  • Pankaj

    @bilal… look at the philander stats…he took wicket at a very low rate… he took wicket on a fairly good wicket while azmal took wicket where 200 is a winning total…majority of the wickets came form this spin friendly wicket… clarke did score all round the world along with that he captained australia brilliantly… he didn’t get the nomination because he played against india well…

    dammed…idiocy has no limits.Recommend

  • Bilal

    @Pankaj ok so Clarke got nominated because of his captaincy ? hahaha dude u have lost it …. he got nominated cause he scored almost 1400 runs in the year .. out of them half was scored against a club level bowling attack of india. And again please understand Philander took wickets on seam friendly wickets bowling at 79 mph … so why is it that bowling friendly only applies on Ajmal .. your argument doesnt stand mate .. face itRecommend

  • Pankaj

    @bilal…. lol .. can’t u comprehend simple english ? I said clarke is selected because of his batting as well as captaincy. philander stats are there to see : http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/46945.html?class=1;template=results;type=bowling

    everywhere his average is well below 23 which is phenomenal unlike azmal who is taking wicket on extremely spin friendly wicket. No comparison. period.

    our club level bowling is still better than ur pathetic batmen.

    take a walk mate…Recommend

  • Bilal

    @Pankaj haha “extremely” u really have no other means to prove that those were spin wickets .. the truth is that UAE and Pak wickets both have always been batting friendly slow wickets .. indian wickets are usually spin friendly under prepared wickets …hahaha u didnt like the club level batting comment either … come on man ur fast bowlers bowl are 120 kph … what do u want me to say ? Recommend

  • Pankaj

    @bilal..u r completely lost it…UAE has batman friendly wicket…hahaha…

    lol… we all know u people are frustrated after saeed omission … lol

    last time…. kohli and company massacred your 150 + bowlers… that was some insult..Recommend

  • Achakzai

    ICC is Indian dominant organization
    Ajmal was not shortlisted b/c it was a inside game of Indian’s.Recommend

  • Bilal

    @Pankhaj mate insult was when u lost to Bangladesh to make sure Sachin gets a hundred … Now I am sure u didn’t c any game played in UAE … There is no rank turner in dubai or abu dhabi … If u don’t know go and find out spare us ur ignorant rantRecommend

  • Pankaj

    @bilal…lol… insult happened when three of your players were sent to jail…winning and loosing are the part of the game..

    dubai and abu dhabi are rank turner..that is why azmal has so dismal record outside of this mini world.. kindly check his stats…Recommend

  • Bilal

    @Pankaj … first its Ajmal not azmal u should learn the name by now .. u know with mumbai and all this name should not be new to u …. just like it is Elizabeth not Elijabeth .. as for the insult discussion u just started … lets go down the memory lane shall we … remember a certain superstar .. let me refresh ur memory .. “Palm olive da tay jawab hi naii” .. yes Kapil Dev … remember him crying like a girl on national TV ? or were u too young … go on look it up …. Boy u r new to this game if you cant tell what a rank turner is … if you saw the england games u would have known that most of the batsmen were dismissed on balls that didnt turn Recommend

  • Pankaj

    @bilal…u r now completely loosing it…kapil also cried when india won the world cup along with billion of Indians…

    as far as the rank turner is concerned… pakistan who had the legacy of producing fast bowler were playing with 4 spinners… facts speak fro themselves… lolRecommend

  • Green Oval


    Then same applies to the UAE wickets, why Pakistanis make runs there and others can’t. Do you recall the Pakistan trashings of the Indian team in Sharjah? Looks like you have tunneled vision, can’t see the bigger picture.? Recommend

  • Green Oval


    On the same token give credit to the Pakistani batters who score runs in Sharjah since you mentioned your driver can take wickets in Sharjah. Btw who is your driver, Ashwin or Ojha?Recommend

  • Bilal

    @Pankaj so u didnt c the games only looked at scorecards … mate cricket is not played on cricinfo … next time watch the games try and understand the pitch nature … UAE is known for fourth inning hundreds but u wouldnt know the significance of that would u … and secondly r u assuming the reason pak produces fast bowlers is quick wickets ? do u think wasim waqar imran shoaib played on hard bouncy wickets in lahore ? Recommend

  • Green Oval

    Ran out of ideas? and resorting to Asif, Aamir and co? Do you need a refresher about the Indian cricketers who were banned for life. Stick with Azmal, I meant Ajmal. Don’t open the can of worms.Recommend

  • Pankaj

    @Green oval… You had said that ur grandma can do wonders on Indian pitches and on the other hand you called them batting paradise… i was just exposing ur hypocrisy…

    your batmen performance is well below average just like ajmal performance outside sharjah… kindly check it out the stats…

    @bilal… if u have seen in recent past… sharjah wickets are rank turner… lol .. you were playing with four spinners…. face the facts.Recommend

  • Bilal


    Hello funny man … can you tell me how many test matches have England played in Sharjah ? Or how many of the 72 wickets did Ajmal take on Sharjah tests ? or how many tests have Ajmal played in Sharjah in his career ? …… let me give you the facts .. Ajmal has played on test in Sharjah and that too against SL … Do you think he took 72 wkts in that test match ? Come on man give me the facts … :) Recommend

  • Green Oval

    @ Pankaj.
    I never said that Indian wickets are batting paradise instead I called them the sand or dust bed (tailor made for the Induan spinners). Go read them again. You seem very disoriented but don’t put words in my mouth.Recommend