Thursday, December 22, 2016

Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is the new King - wins ICC Cricketer of the Year 2016

·       No.1 ranked India off-spinner also clinches ICC Test Cricketer of the Year award

·       De Kock named ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year; Brathwaite bags ICC T20I Performance of the Year award for his match-winning innings in the ICC WT20 2016 final

·       Mustafizur claims ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year award; Afghanistan’s Shahzad named ICC Associate and Affiliate Cricketer of the Year

Ravichandran Ashwin has become the third India player and 12th player overall to win the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy after being named as the ICC Cricketer of the Year 2016.

Ashwin follows in the footsteps of Rahul Dravid (2004) and Sachin Tendulkar (2010), while other recipients of the Sir Garfield Trophy include Andrew Flintoff and Jacques Kallis (joint-winners in 2005), Ricky Ponting (2006 and 2007), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (2008), Mitchell Johnson (2009 and 2014), Jonathan Trott (2011), Kumar Sangakkara (2012), Michael Clarke (2013) and Steve Smith (2015).

Ashwin was also adjudged the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year, which has made him only the second India player after Dravid (2004) to bag the two coveted prizes in the same year. Kallis (2005), Ponting (2006), Sangakkara (2012), Clarke (2013), Johnson (2014) and Smith (2015) are the other players to annex both the awards in the same year.

During the voting period, which ran from 14 September 2015 to 20 September 2016, the 30-year-old from Chennai played eight Tests in which he took 48 wickets and scored 336 runs. Ashwin also claimed 27 wickets in 19 T20Is.

Ashwin had finished 2015 as the number-one ranked Test bowler in the world, a position he twice reclaimed in 2016.

Reacting to the news, a delighted Ashwin said: “It’s an absolute pleasure to be awarded with this great honour. It feels great to follow the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid in being named as the ICC Cricketer of the Year. To also win the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year makes it even better.

“There are a lot of people to thank for this wonderful achievement I have made. It has been a great couple of years but this year has been even more special. What is very noticeable is the way I have bowled and batted and the way I have gone about doing my business. What is more important, as far as I am concerned, is the number of people who have gone behind my success.

“I’d like to dedicate this award to my family. I’d like to thank ICC and most importantly my team-mates. I’d also like to thank the support staff for our success. We’ve had a great transition ever since Mahendra Singh Dhoni hung up his boots. A young captain has taken over, we fell on the right track, and we now have a new bunch of boys.”

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson congratulated Ashwin, saying: “It has been a memorable period for Ashwin, whose consistent all-round and match winning performances have been reflected in the MRF player rankings. He is justifiably now being counted among the best spinners of his generation.

“To win both the ICC Cricketer of the Year and ICC Test Cricketer of the Year awards is a major accomplishment. Ashwin’s performances speak for themselves and he is a deserving recipient of the honours. I congratulate him on behalf of the ICC.”

South Africa’s wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock has been named as the ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year. He is the second South Africa player after AB de Villiers (2010, 2014 and 2015) and ninth overall to clinch this award.

In the voting period, de Kock scored 793 runs in 16 ODIs with four centuries and a half-century. He averaged over 56 and held a strike-rate of just under 98. With the gloves, de Kock dismissed 15 batsmen behind the wickets.

A happy de Kock said: “It’s great to hear that I’ve been named as the ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year. To be named as the best from among so many good cricketers gives one utmost satisfaction.

“This award obviously rewards consistent performances at the top level and I’m happy to have done well for my team over this period. To join a select group of players that include my senior AB de Villiers makes this a special moment, one that I’ll cherish for long. I thank the ICC for selecting me for this award and to my team-members and support staff for all their help and support.”

Carlos Brathwaite of the West Indies has won the ICC T20I Performance of the Year award for his match-winning 34 not out off 10 balls in the ICC World Twenty20 India 2016 final against England in Kolkata. The innings included four consecutive sixes in the final over, which helped the West Indies snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The 24-year-old from Barbados is the first West Indies cricketer to win this award.

Reflecting on that innings, Brathwaite said: “I graciously accept this award. I want to thank God and I also want to say a huge thanks to my family. Special mentions go to Marlon Samuels for a fantastic knock in the finals that got us to the position where we were. I also want to make a special mention of the West Indies’ women’s team and the West Indies’ under-19 team, who together helped cap off an incredible 2016 for West Indies cricket.

“I always dreamt of hitting the final ball of a game for six to win it. Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine hitting four consecutive sixes to win the World Cup (ICC World Twenty20) final for the West Indies.”

Bangladesh fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman has won the ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year award. In the period under consideration, Mustafizur played three ODIs and took eight wickets, while he yielded 19 wickets in 10 T20Is. He is the first Bangladesh cricketer to win an annual ICC award.

Mustafizur commented: “This award is the best gift of the year for me and will encourage me to do even better in the coming years. I’m delighted and proud to win this award, especially since it’s the first time that a Bangladesh player has won an ICC award.

“To play international cricket is the dream for every budding cricketer and it has indeed been a dream come true for me too. I want to thank everyone who has supported me over the years and promise to give my best at every opportunity.”

Afghanistan’s flamboyant wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad has been named as the ICC Associate and Affiliate Cricketer of the Year after he finished as the leading ODI run-scorer with 699 runs in 16 one-day matches. He also scored 301 runs in four innings of three ICC Intercontinental Cup first-class matches and also contributed 533 runs in 17 T20Is. He is the first Afghanistan player to win this award which serves to recognise and reward the efforts in all international matches of outstanding cricketers from teams outside the 10 Test nations.

The player awards were judged by a voting academy, which was entirely independent of the ICC and in which members of the media from all the 10 Test playing countries were eligible to vote. The voting period ran from 14 September 2015 to 20 September 2016.

The full list of ICC Award 2016 winners is:

ICC Cricketer of the Year (Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy) – Ravichandran Ashwin (India)

ICC Test Cricketer of the Year – Ravichandran Ashwin (India)

ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year – Quinton de Kock (South Africa)

ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year – Suzie Bates (New Zealand)

ICC Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year – Suzie Bates (New Zealand)

ICC T20I Performance of the Year – Carlos Brathwaite (West Indies ) (34 not out, 10 balls, 1x4, 4x6, ICC WT20 India 2016 final v England, Kolkata)

ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year – Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh)

ICC Associate/Affiliate Cricketer of the Year – Mohammad Shahzad (Afghanistan)

ICC Spirit of Cricket Award – Misbah-ul-Haq (Pakistan)

ICC Umpire of the Year (David Shepherd Trophy) – Marais Erasmus

ICC Men’s Teams of the Year 2016 (in batting order, selected by Rahul Dravid, Gary Kirsten and Kumar Sangakkara based on players’ performance in the period from 14 September 2015 to 20 September 2016):

ICC Test Team of the Year 2016                             ICC ODI Team of the Year 2016
1.     David Warner (Aus)                                       1. David Warner (Aus)
2.     Alastair Cook (Eng) (captain)                                    2. Quinton de Kock (SA)
3.     Kane Williamson (NZ)                                   3. Rohit Sharma (Ind)
4.     Joe Root (Eng)                                                4. Virat Kohli (Ind) (captain)
5.     Adam Vogues (Aus)                                       5. AB de Villiers (SA)
6.     Jonny Bairstow (Eng) (wicketkeeper)           6. Jos Buttler (Eng)
7.     Ben Stokes (Eng)                                            7. Mitchell Marsh (Aus)
8.     R. Ashwin (Ind)                                              8. Ravindra Jadeja (Ind)
9.     Rangana Herath (SL)                                      9. Mitchell Starc (Aus)
10.  Mitchell Starc (Aus)                                       10. Kagiso Rabada (SA)
11.  Dale Steyn (SA)                                              11. Sunil Narine (WI)
12.  Steve Smith (Aus)                                          12. Imran Tahir (SA)

ICC Women’s Team of the Year (in batting order, selected by Clair Connor, Mel Jones
Shubhangi Kulkarni based on players’ performance in the period from 14 September 2015 to 20 September 2016):

1.     Suzie Bates (New Zealand)
2.     Rachel Priest (New Zealand) (wicketkeeper)
3.     Smriti Mandhana (India)
4.     Stafanie Taylor (West Indies) (captain)
5.     Meg Lanning (Australia)
6.     Ellyse Perry (Australia)
7.     Heather Knight (England)
8.     Deandra Dottin (West Indies)
9.     Sune Luus (South Africa)
10.  Anya Shrubsole (England)
11.  Leigh Kasperek (New Zealand)
12.  Kim Garth (Ireland)

Marais Erasmus voted as ICC Umpire of the Year

Marais Erasmus wins David Shepherd Trophy for ICC Umpire of the Year

Marais Erasmus of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires has won the David Shepherd Trophy for the ICC Umpire of the Year 2016, it was announced today.

Erasmus was voted by the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees as well as the Test playing captains, and he beats off strong competition for this award from his colleagues Richard Illingworth, Bruce Oxenford and Richard Kettleborough.

Erasmus is the fifth umpire to win this prestigious award after Simon Taufel (2004 to 2008), Aleem Dar (2009-2011), Kumar Dharmasena (2012) and Richard Kettleborough (2013-2015).

Erasmus, 52, made his international debut in October 2007 in an ODI between Kenya and Canada at the Nairobi Gymkhana and was promoted to the elite panel in 2010.

Reacting to the news, Erasmus said: “David Shepherd has been one of the role models for many aspiring umpires and to win the trophy named after him is something to be really proud of. It has been an excellent period of international cricket and I consider myself extremely fortunate to be part of it.

“I thank the match referees and the Test captains for voting me as the ICC Umpire of the Year 2016, but the fact is without the support, help and encouragement of my Playing Control Teams, this would not have been possible. As such, it is appropriate that I win this on behalf of all my fellow match officials.

“I would like to thank my wife Adele and my sons Chris and Geo for their support and sacrifices so that I can live the dream of umpiring at the world stage, as well as my ICC coach, Denis Burns, who during the past three years guided me to become the best possible umpire that I can be.”

ICC General Manager – Cricket, Geoff Allardice, congratulated Erasmus, saying: “The ICC is very fortunate to have such a strong team of umpires, and Marais has been deservedly rewarded for the steady improvement in his umpiring over the past few years. This recognition, voted by the match referees and the Test captains, shows the high regard in which Marais is held by those closely involved with the game.”

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq wins the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has won the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award.

The 42-year-old was adjudged the winner for inspiring his side to play the game in its true spirit, at the same time lifting the Pakistan cricket team from number-four to number-one on the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings. Remarkably, this was achieved without playing any Test matches in his home country.

Misbah is the first Pakistan player to win the award with the previous winners being MS Dhoni (2011), Daniel Vettori (2012), Mahela Jayawardena (2013), Katherine Brunt (2014) and Brendon McCullum (2015). New Zealand also won this award in 2004, 2009 and 2010, England in 2005 and 2006, and Sri Lanka in 2007 and 2008.

Commenting on the news, Misbah said: “I feel honoured and humbled to have won the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award. To lift the Test mace earlier this year and now this in the twilight of my career, is a message for every athlete that age is not a barrier as long as the sportsperson maintains highest fitness levels and continues to perform up to international standards.

“As a team, we have focused on playing within the rich traditions of the sport with a positive mindset and approach so that we can entertain the spectators and fans, and at the same time, challenge the oppositions. I am glad that this has been noticed and recognised by the game’s governing body.”

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Captain Kohli and Ashwin achieve personal bests ICC Test rankings

India’s star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has consolidated his position at the top of the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers after his match haul of 12-167 in the fourth Test against England in Mumbai helped the home side score an innings and 36 runs victory for a winning 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

Ashwin, who had touched the coveted 900-point mark for the first time in October when he had reclaimed the top-ranking, has reached 904 points to run up a 37-point lead over second-placed Rangana Herath of Sri Lanka.

Ashwin’s rating is the second best-ever by an off-spinner after Muttiah Muralidaran (920), fifth best among spinners after Tony Lock (912), Derek Underwood (907) and Shane Warne (905), and the 18th in the overall list.

Ashwin, who grabbed six wickets each in the two innings in Mumbai, had finished the 2015 year-end rankings as the number-one bowler and was also at the top briefly in July this year. He is also the top-ranked all-rounder at 483 points and enjoys a healthy lead over Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan, who is on 405 points with England’s Ben Stokes third with 341 points.

Ashwin’s spin partner Ravindra Jadeja has bridged the gap with Stokes to just one point in the all-rounders’ list after taking six wickets in Mumbai. Jadeja’s continued success has also helped him reach a career-best ranking of sixth among bowlers.

In the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen, India captain Virat Kohli has continued his surge towards the top after his player of the match performance of 235 in India’s only innings in Mumbai. The 28-year-old’s highest Test score has earned him 53 points, which has lifted him by one position to a career-best second rank. He is now is in line to top the rankings in all three forms of the game at some point in time.

Kohli, who is currently ranked second in One-Day Internationals and first in Twenty20 Internationals, is just 11 points behind Australia captain Steve Smith, who will get a chance to maintain his top ranking in an upcoming three-Test series against Pakistan.

Other India players to make upward movements among batsmen are opener Murali Vijay and all-rounder Jayant Yadav. Vijay has moved up five places to 24th position after his knock of 136 while Yadav’s 104 runs at number nine position, has pushed him up 31 slots to 56th rank. 

For England, debutant opener Keaton Jennings has entered the batsmen’s rankings at an impressive 64th position after innings of 112 and zero.

Australia v Pakistan:

·       Australia and Pakistan can overtake England to second in Test team rankings

Australia and Pakistan will go head to head in a three-Test series starting in Brisbane on Thursday, with both the sides aiming for an upward movement. Australia is currently ranked third on 105 points, while Pakistan is fourth on 102 points.

However, this position will potentially change when the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings are updated following the Chennai Test. If second-ranked England wins the Test, then it will finish on 103 points, but it will end on 101 points if India wins the series 4-0.

The following are Australia v Pakistan series permutations:

·       Australia wins 3-0: Australia 109 points; Pakistan 97 points
·       Australia wins 2-0: Australia 108 points; Pakistan 98 points
·       Australia wins 1-0: Australia 107 points; Pakistan 100 points
·       Series draw: Australia 104 points; Pakistan 103 points
·       Pakistan wins 3-0: Pakistan 108 points; Australia 100 points
·       Pakistan wins 2-0: Pakistan 107 points; Australia 101 points
·       Pakistan wins 1-0: Pakistan 105 points; Australia 102 points

Series schedule:
15-19 December – 1st Test (day/night), Brisbane
26-30 December – 2nd Test, Melbourne
3-7 January – 3rd Test, Sydney

MRF Tyres ICC Test Rankings (as of 13 December 2016, before the start of the Australia-Pakistan series)

Rank   Team               Points
1.     India                  115
2.     England             105
3.     Australia            105
4.     Pakistan             102
5.     South Africa      102
6.     New Zealand       96
7.     Sri Lanka             96
8.     West Indies          69
9.     Bangladesh          65
10.  Zimbabwe             5
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