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    Ajmal not likely to be included in ICC awards

    Islamabad: Pakistan's offspinner Saeed Ajmal is unlikely to be added to the shortlist for world player of the year award despite Pakistan registering a protest with the International Cricket Council against his exclusion.

    An ICC spokesman said the awards are "independently run and audited and therefore the process for 2012 is complete."

    Ajmal, who took 72 wickets in Test matches during the qualifying period from Aug. 4, 2011 to Aug. 6 this year, was on the initial long list of players selected for the awards.

    However he was not among the final four selected in three categories for individual honors.

    The ICC spokesman, who requested not to be named, said Ajmal "was on the long-list for the 32 members of the voting academy to consider and the final four in all categories have been published."

    Pakistan Cricket Board lodged an official protest with the ICC, claiming Ajmal's 72 wickets in 12 Test matches with an average of 24.29 during the qualifying period warrants his inclusion among the shortlisted four players.

    Ajmal's performance included 24 wickets in Pakistan's 3-0 win in Test series against the then world No. 1 England in the United Arab Emirates. "If a top performer is not coming up then it means ICC needs to look into the system devised to shortlist the players," PCB spokesman Nadeem Sarwar told the AP.

    Sarwar also confirmed that ICC has responded to PCB's protest.

    Ajmal's 72 wickets included 33 against Sri Lanka (6 Tests), 24 against England (3 Tests), nine against Bangladesh (2 Tests) and six against Zimbabwe (one Test).

    By comparison, South Africa's fast bowler Vernon Philander was among the four shortlisted players for Test cricketer of the year award despite taking 56 wickets during the voting period.

    The three other nominated 0players are all batsmen: Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara, Australia's Michael Clarke and South Africa's Hashim Amla.