Related Links : Ajantha Mendis
Sri Lanka’s Mystery Spinner has grabbed the ICC Emerging Player award through his destructive performances in both ODIs and Tests in the last couple of months or so. The 23-year-old was way above the rest of the other nominees for the award which included Ishant Sharma, Stuart Broad and Morne Morkel.
Ajantha Mendis completely overshadowed Muttiah Muralitharan in a 3-Test Series against India followed up by a 5-ODI Series. Mendis first hit headlines by taking a 6-wicket haul against India in the Asia Cup Final. In the following Test Series, he bamboozled some of the great players of spin bowling – Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Ganguly to go onto take 26 wickets in what was only his Debut Test Series! Interestingly Mendis was given the award by his own Skipper Mahela Jayawardene and on receiving the award said “I am delighted to win the award. It is an honour to play for Sri Lanka and I hope to continue playing for my country for a long time to come.” The Emerging Player of the Year award is given to players under the age of 26 and should not have played more than five Tests and/or 10 ODIs before the start of the voting period.
The Umpire of the Year award for the fifth time in a row has gone to Australian Simon Taufel. The Women’s Cricketer of the Year went to England’s Captain Charlotte Edwards while the ‘Spirit of Cricket Award’ was won for the second time in a row by Sri Lanka. There was an award for the Associate Player of the Year which went to Dutch all rounder Ryan ten Doeschate.
The ICC also named the Test Team of the Year and the ODI Team of the Year. Graeme Smith was named as Captain of the Test Team and Ponting as the Captain of the One Day Team of the Year.