Saeed Ajmal is Best Test Player Now – Next Murali Dharan
The qualifying period for the ICC award was from 4th August, 2011 to 6th August, 2012. Look at the players’ performance who have been selected for Test Cricketer of the Year between this period:
Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara has scored 1444 runs at an average of 60.16 in 14 Test matches. (Sri Lanka won only 3 Test matches during this period, lost 5 matches, 6 matches were drawn)
Australia captain Michael Clarke has scored 1355 runs at an average if 58.91 in 14 Test matches. (Australia won 9 matches, lost 2 matches, 3 matches were drawn)
South Africa opener Hashim Amla 915 runs at an average of 65.35 in 10 Test matches. (South Africa won 5 matches, lost 2 matches, 3 matches were drawn)
South Africa fast bowler Vernon Philander who debuted in November 2011 has taken 56 wickets at an average of 16.57 in 9 Test matches. (South Africa won 5 matches, lost 1 matches, 3 matches were drawn)
Now if we look at Saeed Ajmal’s record in the qualifying period he has taken 72 wickets at an average of 24.29 in 12 test matches including 24 at 14.70 as Pakistan swept aside England, the then No. 1 side in the world, 3-0 in January. (Pakistan won 7 matches, lost 1 match, 4 matches were drawn)
Saeed Ajmal Now Highest Wicket Taker In Tests This Year
Pakistan’s prolific spinner Saeed Ajmal achieves another milestone as he becomes the highest wicket taking bowler in Test matches played this year. He has clinched 36 wickets so far in six test matches at an excellent average of 20.88 having the best figures of 7/55.
Herath of Sri Lanka seconds him with 35 wickets in the same number of matches. England’s Graeme Swann is placed at the same spot with the same number of wickets but with a low average of 27.51 then Herath who holds a good average of 23.97.
The 34-year-old was also the world’s leading Test wicket-taker in 2011 with 50 scalps in eight matches and grabbed 24 wickets in Pakistan’s 3-0 whitewash of top-ranked England earlier this year.
Saeed Ajmal Out from List of ICC Cricketer Of The Year Nominees List
It was quite shocking to see Saeed Ajmal been discarded by ICC Awards nominees for ICC Cricketer of the year and player of the year. The prolific right arm spinner, master of Doosra who has 120 International Wickets, the most by any bowler between 4th August 2011 and 6th August 2012 (the period for ICC Awards criteria).
Ajmal also has 72 Test Wickets, again the most by any bowler, during this period. But ICC didn’t even care to put him in nominees and removed his name from the short-list of the categories mentioned above. However, Kumar Sangakkara, Michael Clarke, Hashim Amla and Vernon Philander maintained their names for ICC Cricketer of the year nominees (same for Test).
The decision of discarding Ajmal’s name by the ICC from the honorable category has left people in despair and they call it partiality against the top Pakistani bowler. It is pertinent to mention here that at present Saeed Ajmal is placed at the third spot in both Test and ODI bowler rankings with rating points of 832 and 696, respectively. While, he is also the second ranked bowler in T20 Cricket and discarding such a bowler from ICC nominees list who is currently being placed among top three bowlers in all the three formats of the game is beyond imagination. This is high time for ICC that they must review their selection policy in order to prevent criticism in future.
Can Saeed Ajmal be Next Murali Dharan ?