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Pujara gives India a reason to smile

Cheteshwar Pujara

Calcutta: Cheteshwar Pujara gave India reasons to cheer as he was chosen the ‘Emerging Cricketer of the Year’, even as India got only two names on the awards list of the ICC Annual Awards announced, on Friday, in Dubai.

The only other Indian to feature in the list is skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who got the People’s Choice award. Australia captain Michael Clarke clinched the top honours. “Australia captain Michael Clarke was today (Friday) announced as the winner of the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the Year and was also named as the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year,” the ICC said in a statement. The announcement was made ahead of the broadcast of the Awards TV show, which premieres On Saturday in most countries across the globe. “

The show will be hosted by former Australia captain Ricky Ponting who won the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy in 2006 and 2007, ICC Test Cricketer of the Year in 2006 and was appointed captain of ICC's ODI Team of the Year in 2007, 2008 and 2010,” the ICC stated. Clarke was earlier named in the ICC Test and ODI Teams of the Year in Mumbai on December 3. In the same event, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was revealed as the LG People's Choice award winner. Keeping Clarke company on the winners’ list is Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara, who was named ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year, and Pujara, who claimed his first-ever ICC award. Pujara became the second fastest Indian to get to 1000 Test runs, during the course of his double hundred against Australia in March at Hyderabad, where he put on a 370-run record second wicket partnership with Murali Vijay.

The 25-year-old Pujara has 1310 runs in 15 Tests at an average of 65.50. Also joining Pujara on the winners list for the first time are New Zealand captain Suzie Bates, who won the ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year Award. Pakistan fast bowler Umar Gul, whose five for six against South Africa won him the ICC T20I Performance of the Year award; Ireland’s Kevin ’Brien, who won the Associate and Affiliate Cricketer of the Year award, and Richard Kettleborough of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires, who won the David Shepherd Trophy for ICC Umpire of the Year, are the other notable winners. England’s Sarah Taylor clinched the ICC Women's T20I Cricketer of the Year award for the second year in a row, while Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardena won his second ICC Spirit of Cricket award, this time for walking without waiting for an umpire’s decision when batting on 91 against New Zealand in Galle in November 2012.

There are 11 individual awards as well as the two ICC Teams of the Year – for Tests and ODIs – to be won. “I’d like to congratulate all of the winners announced on Friday, who are all highly deserving of their awards. A special congratulation is needed for Michael Clarke, who claimed two awards this evening, including of course the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the Year,” ICC president Alan Isaac said.