DUBAI: Cricketing legend Imran Khan led a protest of former Pakistan captains over off-spinner Saeed Ajmal's omission from a list of annual awards, terming it a great injustice.
The wily spinner was not included in a shortlist of four players for the best Test player of the year category in the International Cricket Council (ICC) annual awards to be held in Colombo on September 15.
A 32-man independent jury comprising former players, officials and journalists provoked anger in Pakistan after omitting Ajmal from the shortlist, Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara, Australian Michael Clarke and South Africans Vernon Philander and Hashim Amla.
Ajmal, 34, took 72 wickets in 12 Tests from August 2011 to July this year, including 24 wickets in a 3-0 rout of then world ranked number one England in January-February.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) earlier this week lodged a protest with the ICC demanding a review of the shortlist but the game's governing body rejected it.
The PCB said it was considering boycotting the ceremony.
Khan said Ajmal's omission was unjust.
“It is a great injustice to a player who is a match winner in all formats of the game and his omission was surprising,” Khan told reporters during the second Twenty20 match between Pakistan and Australia here on Friday.
Another former captain Ramiz Raja said Ajmal was hard done by the jury.
“I feel that Ajmal was hard done by the jury and it is a serious case for review because if performers are not picked then the credibility (of awards) is missing,” Raja told AFP.
Raja said an award is an honour for the player.
“It's a great honour for the player to win an award and it hurts not only Pakistan but the whole community,” said Raja, now a renowned commentator.
Former captain and coach Waqar Younis said he didn't understand the system.
“I don't know how this system is working,” said Waqar of the process.
“Maybe the system needs to be reviewed because 32 people are too much.
“On the basis of performance you can't overlook Ajmal and it comes as a great surprise to me.”