Sangakkara picked up two major awards
Sri Lanka wicketkeeper batsman Kumar Sangakkara may have had one of the best nights in his life on September 15 as he picked up not one, not two, but three International Cricket Council (ICC) awards.
Sangakkara picked up the coveted Cricketer of the Year and Test Cricketer of the Year award, while also receiving the People’s Choice prize for a second year in a row.
Sangakarra was picked ahead of South Africa’s Hashim Amla and Vernon Philander, and Australia captain Michael Clarke for the Cricketer of the Year and Test Cricketer of the Year award.
During the 12 month qualification period, Sangakkara scored 1,444 runs, which included five centuries and five half centuries, in 14 Tests at an average of 60.16.
By far the best century Sangakkara would have been remembered for in the past year would have to be his match-saving 211 against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi.
In terms of ODI statistics, Sangakkara recorded 1,457 runs in 37 ODIs, including three centuries, along with 39 catches behind the stumps and three stumpings to go along with all of that.
“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, 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. Now to receive this honour this evening, is simply fantastic,” Sangakkara said upon receiving his trophies from ICC president Alan Isaac.
Previous winners of the Cricketer of the Year award include some of the greatest cricketers to have ever played the sport for their country.
They include: Rahul Dravid (2004), Andrew Flintoff and Jacques Kallis (joint winners in 2005), Ricky Ponting (2006 and 2007), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (2008), Mitchell Johnson (2009), Sachin Tendulkar (2010) and Jonathan Trott (2011).
West Indies batting legend Brian Lara, who was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame, presented Sangakkara with the Test Cricketer of the Year trophy.
“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 to do the best I can,” Sangakkara said.
Sangakkara failed to pick up the ODI Cricketer of the Year award though, which he won in 2011, as India’s Virat Kohli had scored 1733 runs at an average of 66.65, including eight hundreds and six half centuries.
West Indies mystery spinner Sunil Narine, who has bowled the team to a countless number of victories over the past year, won the Emerging Cricketer of the Year award.
Other winners included South Africa’s Richard Levi, whose record-breaking century from just 45 balls against New Zealand, earned him the Twenty20 Performance of the Year award ahead of Sri Lanka’s brilliant spinner Ajantha Mendis.
New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori received the Sprit of Cricket award for his sportsmanlike recall of a Zimbabwe batsman during a tense Test match both nations endured at Bulawayo.
George Dockrell became the second Irish player after William Porterfield to be presented with the Associate and Affiliate Player of the Year prize.
However, the awards did not stop there as for the first time, there were two women’s awards to hand out as well, the first being the ODI Cricketer of the Year, which West Indies star Stafanie Taylor won for the second year running, and the Twenty20 International Cricketer of the Year went to England’s Sarah Taylor.
Just as Sri Lanka thought they were done with awards, the ICC crowned Kumar Dharmasena as the Umpire of the Year.
Dharmasena’s win ended Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar’s three-year streak and, to add insult to injury for Pakistan, none of their other players, including Saeed Ajmal, who was removed from the shortlist for the Cricket of the Year and Test Cricketer of the Year awards, won any awards on the day, leaving the country with a grand total of zero awards.