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Smith sweeps ICC awards

By The Assam Tribune

DUBAI, Dec 23: Indian players failed to make a mark as Australians and South Africans swept the International Cricket Council�s (ICC) Annual Awards with Steve Smith clinching the coveted trophies of the Cricketer of the Year and the Test Cricketer of the Year, respectively.

Smith became the fourth Australian and 11th overall to win the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy after being named as the ICC Cricketer of the Year 2015.

Smith follows in the footsteps of Ricky Ponting (2006 and 2007), Mitchell Johnson (2009 and 2014) and Michael Clarke (2013) to lift the coveted trophy since the inception of the awards in 2004.

Other recipients of the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy include Rahul Dravid (2004), Andrew Flintoff and Jacques Kallis (joint-winners in 2005), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (2008), Sachin Tendulkar (2010), Jonathan Trott (2011) and Kumar Sangakkara (2012), the ICC said in a statement.

The top-order batsman was also adjudged the Test Cricketer of the Year, which has made him only the seventh cricketer after Dravid (2004), Kallis (2005), Ponting (2006), Sangakkara (2012), Clarke (2013) and Johnson (2014) to bag the two coveted prizes in the same year.

South Africa�s ODI captain AB de Villiers was named the ODI Cricketer of the Year for the second time in a row. During the voting period, which ran from September 18, 2014 to September 13, 2015, the 26-year-old Smith finished as the leading run-scorer in Tests with 1,734 runs in 13 matches at an average of 82.57.

This included seven centuries and six half-centuries. In 26 One-Dayers, Smith scored 1,249 runs at an average of just under 60 with four centuries and eight half-centuries.

He was a member of the Australian side which won the World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand earlier this year.

Earlier this month, Smith was also named in the Test and ODI Teams of the Year, which were picked by the ICC selection panel that was headed by former India captain and Chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee Anil Kumble.

Reacting to the news, a delighted Smith said: �Given that there are so many great players around the world, I�m incredibly honoured to receive these awards. While team success is always my number-one motivation, awards like this are very special. I�m thrilled and very proud to receive them.

�I will look back on 2015 with mixed feelings. Winning the ICC Cricket World Cup at home was a career highlight, and being appointed captain is a great honour, but the disappointment of losing the Ashes remains.�

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson congratulated Smith, saying: �I would like to extend my congratulations to Steve on winning the ICC Cricketer of the Year and ICC Test Cricketer of the Year awards.

�His consistent performance during the voting period in varying conditions and against all opposition has been exceptional. His skill and determination to succeed at the highest level has been an inspiration to all,� he said.

�I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the other winners, including Richard Kettleborough for completing a hat-trick of ICC Umpire of the Year titles. They are all well-deserved winners,� he added.

De Villiers, meanwhile, had also won this award in 2010. In the voting period, de Villiers scored 1,265 runs in 20 innings at an average of just over 79 and a strike-rate of 128.4.

He hit two centuries and nine half-centuries. Earlier this month, de Villiers was named as the captain of the ICC ODI Team of the Year.

A delighted de Villiers said: �It is an honour to be named as the ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year. It�s certainly been a memorable year with many highlights but a lot of disappointments as well. �If I was to look back, the century I scored against the West Indies at the Wanderers will probably go down as the most memorable knocks of the year. In saying that, centuries count for nothing if the team isn�t winning, so hopefully in the future I can contribute to many more Proteas wins.�

De Villiers� team-mate and South Africa�s T20I captain Faf du Plessis won the T20I Performance of the Year award for his 56-ball 119 against the West Indies in the second T20I in Johannesburg on 11 January 2015. Du Plessis had clubbed 11 fours and five sixes in his swashbuckling innings.

Australia women�s captain Meg Lanning has been named as the Women�s ODI Cricketer of the Year, while West Indies women�s captain Stafanie Taylor won her maiden Women�s T20I Cricketer of the Year award. Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood won the Emerging Cricketer of the Year award.

Former United Arab Emirates captain Khurram Khan has been named as the ICC Associate and Affiliate Cricketer of the Year after he finished as the leading run-scorer with 425 runs in nine one-day matches. This award serves to recognise and reward the efforts in all international matches of the outstanding cricketers from the teams outside the 10 Test nations.

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum won the Spirit of Cricket Award for inspiring his side to play the game in its true spirit. This was clearly evident throughout the Cricket World Cup 2015, and in particular in the semi-final where McCullum showed humility and exemplary sportsmanship by inviting de Villiers and his side to the New Zealand�s dressing room after a closely-fought match. � PTI

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