JOHANNESBURG, Sept 11: Ricky Ponting’s Australia received a boost ahead of the Twenty20 World Championship starting later on Tuesday when his team swept four of the five top ICC awards.

Ponting himself won two, the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the cricketer of the year and the captain of the year award at a formal ceremony held at the Sandton Convention Centre here on Monday night.

Matthew Hayden was named the one-day player of the year and fast bowler Shaun Tait, who missed out on the Twenty20 event due to injury, won the emerging player’s award.

Australia picked up a fifth award away from the players when Simon Taufel was declared the best umpire for the fourth year in a row.

Pakistan’s prolific batsman Mohammad Yousuf prevented an Australian clean sweep by bagging the Test player of the year ward for scoring 944 runs in 10 innings at 94.40 during the voting period of August 2006-August 2007.

Ponting, who was voted player of the year for the second successive year, said he was honoured to be feted by the cricket world.

“It’s more of an eventful night than I thought it would be and I am honoured,” said Ponting. “It’s a great achievement and something I will probably look back on this with a lot of pride.”

Ponting led Australia to an Ashes whitewash, Champions Trophy victory and a third consecutive World Cup title during the past year.

“I was happy with the way I have gone about things during the past year and I think we have lifted ourselves to a new level as a team,” Ponting said.

“It has been an unbelievable 12 months of cricket and we should all be very proud with what we have achieved.”

Ponting said he was looking forward to the Twenty20 tournament where Australia are placed in Group ‘B’ alongside England and Zimbabwe.

“It would be nice to add another one to the cupboard but it is going to be a very open competition,” he said.

Yousuf, who has been banned by Pakistan for joining the rebel Indian Cricket League, said he was delighted to be named the Test player of the year.

“This is the first time for a Pakistan player to win this award so I am particularly delighted with that,” the 33-year-old said in a video message from Lahore.

“I thank Allah and my Pakistan team-mates. I also want to thank the ICC panel for voting for me.”

Mahela Jayawardene’s Sri Lanka won the Spirit of Cricket award, while Thomas Odoyo of Kenya was named the player of the year among non-Test nations.

Indian seamer Jhulan Goswami picked up the women’s player of the year award, making up for the absence of any male compatriot among the nominees.

“It is special to win the award because none of our stars had been nominated,” said Goswami. “I hope this award will give a fillip to the women’s game in India.”

Winners of the ICC awards for 2007:

Cricketer of the Year: Ricky Ponting (Australia).

Other nominees: Shivnarine Chanderpaul (West Indies), Kevin Pietersen (England), Mohammad Yousuf (Pakistan).

Test Player of the Year: Mohammad Yousuf (Pakistan).

Other nominees: Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka), Pietersen, Ponting.

Emerging Player of the Year: Shaun Tait (Australia).

Other nominees: Ravi Bopara (England), Saqibul Hasan (Bangladesh), Ross Taylor (New Zealand).

Captain of the Year: Ponting.

Other nominee: Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka).

One-day Player of the Year: Matthew Hayden (Australia).

Other nominees: Ponting, Jacques Kallis (South Africa), Glenn McGrath (Australia).

One-day Player of the Year for non-Test nations: Thomas Odoyo (Kenya).

Other nominees: Ashish Bagai (Canada), Ryan ten Doeschate (Netherlands), Steve Tikolo (Kenya).

Women’s Cricketer of the Year: Jhulan Goswami (India).

Other nominees: Lisa Sthalekar (Australia), Claire Taylor (England).

Umpire of the Year: Simon Taufel (Australia).

Other nominees: Mark Benson (England), Steve Bucknor (West Indies), Daryl Harper (Australia).

Spirit of Cricket Award: Sri Lanka.

Other nominees: Australia, Ireland, New Zealand.

ICC selection for the Test Team of the Year: Ricky Ponting (Australia, captain), Matthew Hayden (Australia), Michael Vaughan (England), Mohammad Yousuf (Pakistan), Kevin Pietersen (England), Michael Hussey (Australia), Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka, wicket-keeper), Stuart Clark (Australia), Makhaya Ntini (South Africa), Mohammad Asif (Pakistan), Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka). 12th man: Zaheer Khan (India).

ICC selection for the One-day Team of the Year: Ricky Ponting (Australia, captain), Matthew Hayden (Australia), Sachin Tendulkar (India), Kevin Pietersen (England), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (West Indies), Jacques Kallis (South Africa), Mark Boucher (South Africa, wicket-keeper), Chaminda Vaas (Sri Lanka), Shane Bond (New Zealand), Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka), Glenn McGrath (Australia). 12th man: Michael Hussey (Australia).—AFP


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