Ajmal shortlisted for ODI cricketer of the year
04 December, 2013
KARACHI: Snubbed for the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test player and player of the year in 2012, Saeed Ajmal is hoping for better luck this time around after being short-listed for the ODI Cricketer of the Year.
The Pakistan off-spinner, along with his captain Misbahul Haq, would be competing with three players from India and one from Sri Lanka for the award.
The list includes MS Dhoni along with his team mates Shikhar Dhawan and Ravindra Jadeja besides Sri Lanka's Kumara Sangakkara.
Ajmal, who took 72 Test wickets during the stipulated period for the last edition of the awards, was not even short-listed by the ICC for Test player of the year, prompting the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to protest the snub. The controversy resulted in PCB partially boycotting the awards' ceremony.
However, Ajmal said he was confident of winning the ICC award this time.
"I am delighted to be short-listed," Ajmal told Our Sources. "I was disappointed to miss the ICC award last year as my performance was good then too."
"I hope I will win this time as my performance remained consistent throughout the year. It will be a huge honour for any cricketer to win the award."
Ajmal has taken a total of 41 wickets in 21 matches during the assessment period for the current awards – 7 August 2012 to 25 August 2013.
It may me mentioned that a 32-person independent voting academy shortlisted the players. The panel also includes Daily Express' Sports Editor Saleem Khaliq.
Spinner looks to end the year on a high
Ajmal, who will miss the one-off Twenty20 against Afghanistan due to domestic reasons, was eyeing another good series after an impressive run against South Africa.
"Sri Lanka are tough opponents and I am looking forward to a good show," he said.
"I am satisfied with my performance against South Africa. The ODI series victory against them is a huge morale booster for me as well as for my team.
"My target against Sri Lanka will be to take key wickets and help my team win. I want to end the year as the best ranked bowler," said Ajmal, who is currently a top-ranked bowler in the ICC's ODI rankings.
Amla, Clarke, Anderson in running for top honour
Meanwhile, England's James Anderson, South Africa's Hashim Amla and Australia captain Michael Clarke have been short-listed for the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the ICC Cricketer of the Year and the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year.
England captain Alastair Cook, India captain MS Dhoni and Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara are also in contention for the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy.
Amla, Clarke and Anderson are also featuring in the shortlist for the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year award along with Dale Steyn of South Africa and the Indian duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Cheteshwar Pujara.
Pakistan pacer Umar Gul is in contention for Twenty20 International performance of the year with Ajantha Mendis (Sri Lanka) and New Zealanders Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum the other contenders.
Former winner Pakistan's Aleem Dar has been included in the 12-umpire list for the David Shepherd Trophy for ICC Umpire of the Year.