LAHORE - Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has lodged a protest with the International Cricket Council (ICC) over exclusion of off-spinner Saeed Ajmal from the annual award shortlist and asked the world cricket governing body to include his name in the award list over his brilliant performance during the specific period.

The 34-year-old off-spinner name did not feature among the four nominees for the coveted ‘Test Cricketer of the Year’ award, despite being Test cricket’s leading wicket-taker in the period under consideration.

South Africa’s Hashim Amla and Vernon Philander, Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara and Australia’s Michael Clarke were included in the shortlist. The ICC will hold the annual awards ceremony to recognise the best players and umpire in international cricket in Sri Lanka on September 15. The names are chosen by a 30-member jury comprising former players, officials and journalists.

Ajmal took 72 wickets in the 12 month period, including 24 in Pakistan’s 3-0 rout of the then world number one Test team England earlier this year.

The Pakistan Cricket Board has written to the International Cricket Council (lCC) over the omission of Ajmal’s name from the shortlist. “Yes, we have shown our concerns on Ajmal’s name not shortlisted for ‘Test Player of the Year’ award despite his excellent performance in Tests during the stipulated period,” the source confided to this scribe on condition of anonymity. “We hope that the ICC will reconsider its committee decision and will include Ajmal’s name,” he added.

Graeme Swann was omitted from a shortlist in 2010 but was later included after England put up his case. South Africa also objected to the omission of their players and boycotted the 2009 ceremony held in Johannesburg.

Despite his omission from the award shortlist, Ajmal’s name has been included in the ICC Test Team of the Year that was dominated by the South African players while no Indian player was able to make his place in the ICC Test team.