Aleem Dar gave Pakistan fans something to cheer about on Monday evening when he won the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Umpire of the Year Award for the third time in a row.
Dar was the only winner from Pakistan after Wahab Riaz and Azhar Ali lost out in the Emerging Player of the Year Award to West Indies’ Davendra Bishoo.
Dar, who officiated in five Tests and 13 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) during the voting period including the 2011 World Cup final, won the David Shepherd trophy beating competition from Steve Davis, Ian Gould and five-time winner Simon Taufel.
“It’s a great honour and I’m thankful to the ICC and also my colleagues along with the Pakistan Cricket Board,” said Dar. “I’d like to also thank all my family for all their support since I’m away nearly eight months of the year.”
England batsman Jonathan Trott was named Player of the Year while opener Alastair Cook won the Test Player of the Year Award.
Cook, who was appointed one-day captain after the World Cup, shone during the year peaking with a masterly 294 in the third Test victory over India in August, though, that fell outside the time frame for the award.
It was his third test century in six matches and 19th in all and is now just three shy of England’s all-time record Test century total. It represents quite a turnaround in the genial Cook’s fortunes as a year ago he was close to being dropped before reviving his career with a hundred against Pakistan at The Oval.
During the performance period, he played 12 Tests and in 18 innings, compiling 1,302 runs at an average of 51.74, including six centuries and four half-centuries. His highest score of 235 not out against Australia at Brisbane.
“I think the highlight of year was when we won in Sydney, to beat Australia and Chris Tremlett to take that final wicket it was truly a great year,” said Cook. “This award is about the rest of the team not just me.”
Trott, who alongside Cook was a bedrock of England’s victory in Australia last winter with 445 runs, took the award ahead of fellow short-list nominees Sachin Tendulkar and Hashim Amla. After receiving the award at a dinner, Trott spoke of his delight at an accolade that honoured not just his but England’s achievements over the last 12 months.
“I never envisaged winning this award and it’s a brilliant feeling to be recognised,” said Trott.
List of winners
Player: Jonathan Trott (ENG)
Test: Alastair Cook (ENG)
ODI: Kumar Sangakkara (SRI)
Women: Stafanie Taylor (WI)
Umpire: Aleem Dar (PAK)
Tim Southee (NZ)
Associate and Affiliate: Ryan ten Doeschate (NED)
Spirit of Cricket:
MS Dhoni (IND)
Lorgat blasts India’s absence
The ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat blamed on BCCI for the Indian cricket team’s absence at the Awards, saying that it was a ‘shame’.
The ICC confirmed the board was informed months ago of the event.
“It was quite disappointing that the Indian team did not attend the Awards,” said Lorgat. “I know for a fact that my team had invited them some months back. We probably have confirmation of their likely attendance and in fact the very date was scheduled around their availability in London. Not long ago they were the number one Test team in the World. They won the World Cup in such a great style.”
Meanwhile, the Indian team manager said that he was informed of the invitation at 12 noon by an ICC communication officer but it was too late to inform all the players who had gone out for ‘shopping and sight-seeing’.
“I would like to dedicate the award to my father. He played a great role in my life and encouraged me to play cricket. After he died I made a promise to always give my best and reach for the top.”
“Looking at the nominees, it’s a great achievement to have even been nominated and to win it is something I will never forget. It was great to be able to contribute to that win and also put in a great performance.”
“It’s a great honour and I’m thankful to everyone at the ICC and also my colleagues on the Elite Panel along with the PCB. I’d like to also thank all my family for all their support since I’m away nearly eight months of the year umpiring.”
“It’s a great honour first of all to have been nominated for this award [ODI Cricketer] and a great honour to have actually won it. I am privileged to be part of the squad and I thank you again, I feel very, very proud.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2011.
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