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    PCB criticises Ajmal omission from ICC award

    Dubai: Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf is "saddened" by the omission of spinner Saeed Ajmal from the short list for the ICC's World Player of the Year award and said Monday that he hasn't ruled out a boycott of the ceremony.
    Ajmal took 72 Test wickets during the qualifying period from August 4, 2011, to August 6 this year. He was on the long list but failed to make the cut for the final 12, with four players selected in each of the three categories.
    The PCB unsuccessfully appealed the decision to the International Cricket Council, which said the awards are "independently run and audited and therefore the process for 2012 is complete."
    "We are really saddened by that decision," Ashraf said. "There is some error on this and ICC should rectify this. His name should have been amongst the short list of bowlers of the world. He is No. 1. Why the injustice to one player? We really strongly protested to the ICC, and I'm still hopeful they will make a positive contribution by trying to rectify it."
    Ajmal's 72 wickets included 33 against Sri Lanka in six tests, 24 against England in three Tests, nine against Bangladesh in two Tests and six against Zimbabwe in one Test.
    By comparison, South Africa fast bowler Vernon Philander was among the four players short-listed for the Test Cricketer of the Year award despite only taking 56 wickets during the voting period. The three other nominated players are all batsmen: Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara, Australia's Michael Clarke and South Africa's Hashim Amla.
    At a ceremony on Monday celebrating Pakistan's Twenty20 series victory over Australia, Ashraf said the PCB was under pressure to do something to express its displeasure about the omission.
    "The PCB hasn't decided as yet to think on a boycott. It would be extreme step although we are under tremendous pressure," Ashraf said. "There have been demonstration in Pakistan ... It has been taken up in Parliament in Pakistan. There is a big debate going on in Pakistan."
    Ashraf also said he was "hopeful" that international cricket would soon return to Pakistan, although he said the country is more likely to stage first-class matches first. There are plans for a league styled on the Indian Premier League to be starting in March.
    "You will find international players come and play over there," he said of the proposed league. "That will be a major breakthrough and the teams will start coming. Still, I'm striving that a team will come before that."
    Pakistan have not hosted any major international cricket team since gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009. Pakistan play most of their "home" series in the United Arab Emirates.
    Bangladesh were scheduled to play a one-day international on April 29 followed by a Twenty20 match the next day. But the Bangladesh High Court ordered the tour be delayed because of security concerns, prompting the Bangladesh Cricket Board to cancel it.