KARACHI (Reuters) - Pakistani off-spinner Saeed Ajmal made up for his omission on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Player of the Year shortlist when he won four honours at the Pakistan Cricket Board’s first awards ceremony.
Ajmal, 35, was adjudged the best bowler in all three formats of the game and was also given the special prize of best bowler of the year.
“It is a great honour to get these awards. But I will cherish the best test bowler award since bowling in test matches requires fitness, perseverance and skill,” said Ajmal.
“You have to think the batsman out. I am happy that I was rated as the best out of an attack that is considered second to none.”
Ajmal, who has played 23 tests and 74 one-day internationals, said he also saw the special prize as adequate compensation for missing out on the ICC awards which took place last September.
The PCB had filed an official protest with the ICC after Ajmal was not nominated for the final awards despite the bowler being ranked first in ODIS and third in tests in 2012.
During the period under consideration for the award - August 4 2011 to August 6 2012 - Ajmal took 120 wickets in tests, ODIS and Twenty20 internationals, including 24 wickets in three tests against England last January and February.
“The ICC and its member countries have their awards and we also want to encourage and reward our best performers in Pakistan cricket,” said PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf.
Ashraf added the annual awards would now be a permanent feature on the Pakistan cricket calendar.
ICC chief executive Dave Richardson was present for the ceremony in which awards were given away in 18 different categories.
Pakistan’s Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez walked away with the best player of the year award while opener Nasir Jamshed won the best Twenty20 and ODI batsman of the year awards. Azhar Ali won the best test batsman of the year award.
Pakistan’s former captains and greats, Hanif Muhammad and Imtiaz Ahmed, also got lifetime achievement awards and received their trophies from Richardson.
Left arm paceman Junaid Khan won the emerging player award.
Editing by Tom Pilcher