Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan have both been nominated in three different categories at the ICC Awards 2009. The two men feature in the long-lists for the awards, which will take place at a glittering ceremony in Johannesburg on 1 October. In addition, there are 18 players who are nominated in two distinct categories.
The list was announced at a function in Mumbai, on Wednesday, hosted by former Indian all-rounder Ravi Shastri and attended by current India opener Virender Sehwag – who himself is one of the players nominated for the ODI Player of the Year award – and ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat.
This year’s ICC awards includes eight individual prizes and also features the selection of the Test and ODI Teams of the Year and the award to the side that has adhered most to the Spirit of Cricket.
Apart from MS Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh were some of the other top players to make the list in different categories.
Gambhir and Harbhajan Singh were the other Indian nominees for the prestigious Cricketer of the Year award.
VVS Laxman joined the trio of Dhoni, Gambhir and Harbhajan to be in the line for the Test Player of the Year award while Yuvraj and Sehwag were also in the fray for the honour of ODI Player of the Year.
Zaheer Khan was nominated for Twenty20 Performer of the Year.
“The ICC awards are an opportunity for the ICC and FICA to acknowledge and celebrate the remarkable performances of the world’s top players,” said ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat.
“It is also a chance for followers of our great sport to reflect on some of the great cricketing feats they have witnessed over the past year. This will be the sixth time the awards have been handed out and yet again there are so many great performances to recall. Selecting the winners will no doubt test our selectors and voting academy,” he said.
The long-lists of nominations were made by a five-man ICC selection panel chaired by former West Indies captain and current chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee Clive Lloyd.
The panel also includes former players such as India’s Anil Kumble, Pakistan’s Mudassar Nazar, England’s Bob Taylor and New Zealand’s Stephen Fleming.
The individual player awards will be selected by an academy of 25 highly credentialed cricket personalities from around the world. The academy includes a host of former players and respected members of the media, representatives of the Emirates Elite Panels of ICC Umpires and ICC Match Referees.
The Spirit of Cricket Award was voted on by all international captains as well as all members of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires and Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees. The Umpire of the Year Award was voted on by the captains and the match referees based on the umpires’ performance statistics.
Tillakaratne Dilshan is yet to win an ICC award but he has a good chance this year as he is named among the nominees for the ICC Cricketer of the Year, Test Player of the Year and the Twenty20 International Performance of the Year.
MS Dhoni is a previous winner at the ICC awards having been named as the ODI Player of the Year in 2008. He was also named in the 2008 ODI Team of the Year. This year he has been nominated in the Cricketer of the Year, Test Player of the Year and ODI Player of the Year categories.
The Emerging Player of the Year nominees include Australia’s new finds Philip Hughes, Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle as well as the New Zealand duo of Martin Guptill and Jesse Ryder. India is represented in that category through leg-spinner Amit Mishra while there is also a place for Kemar Roach of the West Indies and England seamer Graham Onions.
To qualify for that award a player must be under the age of 26 and have played fewer than five Tests and/or 10 ODIs at the start of the voting period.
The Associate and Affiliate Player of the Year award serves to recognise and reward the efforts in all international matches of the outstanding cricketers from the teams outside the ICC Full Members. This year, Ireland boasts the most number of nominees with seven names on the list. This is followed by the Netherlands with three and Canada with two names while Kenya and Scotland claim one player each.
Based on the period between 13 August 2008 and 24 August 2009, the ICC Awards 2009 – presented in association FICA – will take into account performances by players and officials in a remarkable period for the game.