Steve Smith named ICC’s Cricketer of the Year

Dubai, Dec 23 (IANS) Australian captain Steve Smith was named 2015’s “Cricketer of the Year” by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday.

He became the fourth Australia player and 11th player overall to win the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy.

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

Other recipients of the prestigious trophy include former India batsman Rahul Dravid (2004), England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff and South African Jacques Kallis (joint-winners in 2005), West Indian Shivnarine Chanderpaul (2008), batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar (2010), Englishman Jonathan Trott (2011) and Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara (2012).

Smith 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 awards in the same year.

During the voting period, which ran from September 18, 2014, to September 13, 2015, the 26-year-old from New South Wales finished as the leading run-scorer in Tests with 1,734 runs in 25 innings of 13 matches at an average of 82.57.

This included seven centuries and six half-centuries. In June, Smith became the second youngest batsman after Tendulkar to achieve the number-one ranking for Test Batsmen.

In 26 One-Day Internationals (ODIs), Smith scored 1,249 runs with four centuries and eight half-centuries. He was a member of the Australia side which won the 2015 World Cup 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 a selection panel headed by former India captain and chairman of the ICC’s Cricket Committee Anil Kumble.

South Africa’s ODI captain AB de Villiers was named the “ODI Cricketer of the Year” for the second successive year. He 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 “ODI Team of the Year”.

De Villiers’ team-mate and South Africa’s T20 captain Faf du Plessis won the “T20 Performance of the Year” award for his 56-ball 119 against the West Indies in the second T20 international in Johannesburg on January 11, 2015. Du Plessis had clubbed 11 fours and five sixes in his innings.

Australia women’s captain Meg Lanning was named the “Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year”, while the West Indies women’s captain Stafanie Taylor won her maiden “Women’s T20 Cricketer of the Year award”.

Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood won the “Emerging Cricketer of the Year award”.

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who retired from international cricket on Tuesday, was given the “Spirit of Cricket Award” for inspiring his side to play the game in its true spirit.

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