Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pakistan unnecessarily wallow in self pity over Saeed Ajmal

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With so many ranking systems, awards, and the various world cups I had assumed that outside of the ODI world cup these things were only instituted to generate sponsorship money and largely artificial interest in the sport of cricket. Ok and perhaps to help seed teams and draw schedules (a purely functional exercise but relevant nonetheless)

It is quite amusing to follow ESPN cricinfo’s headlines covering the on-going ODI series between England and South Africa. They were generating a feeling that the #1 ODI ranking was changing hands every ball. South Africa is not fielding their best team for this series for whatever reason and England are united without Pietersen. Neither team is giving any indication of really playing for the #1 ranking. I seriously doubt either of them really care one way or the other for the ranking.

There is only one real World Cup and its going to be pretty difficult to shake that off. While a Test Championship will be welcome for its promises of high quality cricket, I doubt it will be the new World Cup

I have never really paid much attention to the ICC awards.

They too like the T20 Cup seem to come around every few months but then I must be confusing them with the ESPN Cricinfo awards. Even so I have rarely paid much attention to them. I simply assumed they are another vehicle to generate money, generate employment and create a superficial buzz around the sport.

This year though, I have been browsing through the stories and blogs crying foul over the exclusion of Saeed Ajmal from the Test Cricketer of the Year award.

In general, I feel for Pakistan only because they play their cricket with a natural flair that is a joy to watch. However I also feel the state their cricket is in is largely their own doing. You can’t blame India or the evil West for appointing comical chiefs to head your board who consistently pick the wrong battles to win. The new chief Zaka Ashraf seems a little more sensible but its still early days and the signs are not good.

Once again the PCB picked a wrong battle to win.

Saeed Ajmal has had a pretty spectacular year in Test cricket and plotted a clean sweep of England the then #1 Test side. His efforts were recognized with his name being included in the nominations for the ICC Cricketer of the year award.

But when the nominations were cut down to 4 only Hashim Amla and Vernon Philander (South Africa), Michael Clarke (Australia) and Kumar Sangakara (Sri Lanka) made the cut.

Saeed Ajmal did not make the list.

Fans were upset. Bloggers thought this was racist, that there is more to this than the ICC were willing to reveal. To an extent the fans reactions were understandable if viewed as frustration. Then the PCB decided to act and lodge a formal complaint against the ICC to include Saeed Ajmal in the short-list. Pakistan themselves were represented in the process that they now question.

The ICC promptly rejected the objection. And now Pakistani fans are frustrated and hurt.

There may be some validity to the perception among Pakistani fans that their team is never given their due. How this latest mis-step by their board that seemed to succumb to its fans’ frustrations is going to help them is anyone’s guess

In my view there is not even circumstantial evidence to suggest that there was any conspiracy to exclude Saeed Ajmal. I mean its simple, if his name was included, I would have accepted it, just as I have accepted his exclusion from the short-list. All these 5 cricketers have very little room that separates them.

No decision making process involving humans can be entirely objective. Does popularity of a cricketer, affiliation to certain countries, personal prejudices play a role in drawing up a short list? I am sure they do. Only Pakistan however can help change that and wallowing in self-pity on every little slight does their image no good at all.

1 comment:

Host PPH said...

I totally agree with you my dear blogger, especially when Pakistan could have done something better, I was really mad at them at that time