ISLAMABAD: Off spinner Saeed Ajmal swept four trophies in the Pakistan Cricket Board's first ever awards ceremony on Saturday.
The PCB protested Ajmal's absence from last year's International Cricket Council world player awards, but made up for it somewhat by judging him the best bowler in tests, one-day internationals and Twenty20s.
He also received a special prize for the best bowler of 2012. He was the world's top-ranked bowler in ODIs and Twenty20s last year. “To be named the best for the year from such a special group ... for me this is out of this world,” Ajmal said.
“It took me 16 years to reach this point in my life.”
Pakistan T20 captain Mohammad Hafeez was named player of the year; Azhar Ali picked as test player of the year and left-handed opening batsman Nasir Jamshed was chosen best ODI batsman. Young left-arm fast bowler Junaid Khan received the emerging player award.
Ahsan Raza, who was severely injured during the terror attack on the Sri Lanka team bus at Lahore in 2009, received the trophy for the best umpire of the year.
Lifetime achievement awards were handed to Hanif Mohammad, who played tests from 1952-69, and wicketkeeper-batsman Imtiaz Ahmed. “Having been involved for such a long time with cricket, and having received so many awards, this still tops them all,” Hanif said.
All the award winners received rupees 200,000 ($2,050) while Ajmal received additional rupees 1.5 million ($15,400) for his special prize. Ajmal said he would donate all of his prize money to his cricket academy in his hometown Faisalabad.
The PCB also rewarded the team which clinched the recent one-day series against archrival India 2-1 and drew the Twenty20 series 1-1.
Each player of the team was awarded rupees 500,000 ($5,100) while fast bowlers Mohammad Irfan, Khan, Jamshed, Ajmal and Hafeez were given additional rupees 500,000 ($5,100) for their outstanding performances in the series.