Ponting retains Cricketer of Year

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

In a year of spectacular success for Australia it was only fitting that Ricky Ponting dominated the awards night in Johannesburg. He was named Player of the Year for the second year in a row, and he also won the Captain of the Year award and was named in both the ODI and the Test teams of the year. His efforts with the bat were outstanding - 576 runs in five Tests at an average of 82.28, an ODI average of 51.52 during the period August 9, 2006 to August 8, 2007 - while as captain he won the three huge series over the last year: the Ashes, the Champions Trophy and the World Cup. Ponting couldn't have asked for much more.

Mohammad Yousuf, whose international career is in doubt after he signed up for the ICL, took the Test Player of the Year award, beating off stiff competition from Muttiah Muralitharan, Kevin Pietersen and Ricky Ponting. Yousuf wasn't in Johannesburg to collect his award, and it remains to be seen if it is his final honour as a Pakistan cricketer.

After being out of the ODI team for 14 months, Matthew Hayden returned in style, scoring 1368 runs in 25 one-day innings to win the ODI Player of the Year award. The other nominees for the award were Jacques Kallis, Glenn McGrath and Ricky Ponting. Hayden had an especially prolific World Cup, scoring three centuries and averaging more than 73 in the Caribbean earlier this year.

Fellow Australian, Shaun Tait, won the Emerging Player of the Year. He beat off competition from Ravi Bopara, Saqib-ul-Hasan and Ross Taylor. Tait, who pulled out of the ICC World Twenty20 through injury, wasn't able to collect his award in person and it was picked up for him by Mike Hussey.

Thomas Odoyo, the Kenya allrounder, carried away the Associate Player of the Year award. This was a new award for 2007 and Odoyo said "it was a great honour" to come out on top against his peers. Odoyo has been a key member of Kenya's one-day and Intercontinental Cup sides for a number of years and gained the award ahead of Ryan ten Doeschate, Ashish Bagai and his captain Steve Tikolo.

In the main surprise of the evening, Indian allrounder Jhulan Goswami won Women Cricketer of the Year. The Australian batsman Lisa Sthalekar had been the favourite after a prolific year with the bat, but it was Goswami's success with bat and ball in Tests and ODIs which swung the balance. She took 20 wickets in 16 ODIs and 10 against England in the second Test which sealed a series win. "It's great that the ICC awards have been given to women's cricket," she said. "Hopefully it will help raise the profile."

Simon Taufel picked up the Umpire of the Year award for the fourth year running, prompting comparisons with Roger Federer, who did the US Open four-in-a-row on Sunday. Asked if he felt like Federer after winning the award, Taufel's response was: "Roger earns a lot more money than I do."

In the year he retired from international cricket and led the World Cup wicket-taking list, Glenn McGrath was named in the One-day International team of the year. Unsurprisingly, in a period where they won the Champions Trophy and World Cup, Australia are well represented with Matthew Hayden and Ponting also named.

Michael Vaughan capped a great return from an injury that nearly ended his career by making it to the Test Team of the Year. In the period under consideration - August 9, 2006 to August 8, 2007 - Vaughan scored 493 runs in five Tests at an average of 61.62, with two glorious centuries against West Indies and India. The side was dominated by Australians again, which wasn't surprising considering the way they have demolished all opposition. Adam Gilchrist missed out, though, with Kumar Sangakkara taking the wicketkeeper's slot.

Sri Lanka have had a fair amount of success over the last year, and the way they play their cricket also won them the Spirit of Cricket award, beating off Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, the three other nominees. Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain, said the players realised they were entertainers as well, and tried to play the game in a way which would encourage kids to aspire to be cricketers as well.

ICC Test Team of the Year Matthew Hayden, Michael Vaughan, Ricky Ponting (capt), Mohammad Yousuf, Kevin Pietersen, Michael Hussey, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Stuart Clark, Makhaya Ntini, Mohammad Asif, Muttiah Muralitharan. 12th man: Zaheer Khan.

ICC ODI Team of the Year Matthew Hayden, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting (capt), Kevin Pietersen, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher (wk), Chaminda Vaas, Shane Bond, Muttiah Muralitharan, Glenn McGrath. 12th man: Michael Hussey

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