It was a night to remember for former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakarra who won three major honours at the ICC awards ceremony held in Colombo.
The stylish left-hander won the prestigious Cricketer of the Year, Test Cricketer of the Year and the People Choice awards while also being named in the ODI and Test Teams of the Year. The awards capped an incredible year for the wicket-keeper batsman who scored 1,444 runs at an average of 60.16 in 14 Tests and 1,457 runs in 37 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) with three hundreds. He also took 39 catches and had three stumpings as a wicket-keeper during the 12-month voting period ending in early August.
“This is an amazing honour and I’ve seen the people who have won it before me and the nominees too, to be named alongside them is wonderful,” said Sangakkara. “I admire them greatly and even more so when I looked up at their records on the screen this evening. It’s great to be amongst them but now to receive this honour this evening, is simply fantastic.”
West Indies legend Brian Lara presented Sangakkara with the Test Cricketer award.
“I’m continuing to ensure I am consistent and I need to keep raising the bar each year and keep trying harder and harder to ensure I keep playing good Test cricket. It’s a constant battle but I have the support of a great team that helps me do the best I can.”
Kohli wins ODI Player of the Year award
Meanwhile, Indian sensation Virat Kohli won the ODI Cricketer of the Year award ahead of compatriot MS Dhoni, Lasith Malinga and Sangakkara.
During the qualifying period, Kohli scored 1,733 runs at an average of 66.65 in 31 ODIs, smashing eight hundreds and six half-centuries including his massive 183 against Pakistan in the Asia Cup earlier this year.
“I think I have tried to keep things as simple as possible and it’s worked for me on the field,” said Kohli. “It’s been an all-round effort and I’m very happy to have won this award. It’s always nice to be recognised by the ICC, it’s a great feeling, and it’s the first time I’ve won one of these awards.”
Among other winners on the night was South African opener Richard Levi who won the Twenty20 Performance of the Year award for his record-breaking 45-ball century against New Zealand. West Indies off-spinner Sunil Narine was named Emerging Cricketer of the Year.
Vettori gets Spirit of Cricket award
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori won the Spirit of Cricket Award for his gesture during a Test against Zimbabwe last year.
Vettori, who accidently collided with the non-striker Malcolm Waller, decided not to appeal for the run-out which was caused at the other end because of the collision.
“It was the right thing to do at the time,” said Vettori. “It’s hard to define the spirit of cricket, but we go out on the field with the general mindset to play the game in the right way and always in the right frame of mind.”
George Dockrell of Ireland won the Associate and Affiliate Player of the Year award while Kumar Dharmasena was named the Umpire of the Year. In the women’s cricket awards, Stefanie Taylor was the Cricketer of the Year while Sarah Taylor won the T20 Cricketer of the Year award.
Cricketer: Kumar Sangakkara
Test Cricketer: Kumar Sangakkara
People’s Choice Award: Kumar Sangakkara
ODI Cricketer: Virat Kohli
T20I Performance: Richard Levi
Umpire: Kumar Dharmasena
Spirit of Cricket: Daniel Vettori
Women’s T20I Cricketer: Sarah Taylor
Women’s Cricketer: Stafanie Taylor
Associate and Affiliate Player: George Dockrell
Emerging Player: Sunil Narine
Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2012.
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