Pakistani Test skipper Misbah-ul-Haq won the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award, the ICC tweeted Thursday.
The 42-year-old was given the award for inspiring his side to play the game with zest and zeal that mirrors his own.
The Pakistani Test side rose to the number one spot on the ICC Test rankings during his captaincy this year, that too in a time when Pakistan only plays international cricket away from home.
Misbah is the first ever Pakistani to win the award. Previous winners include MS Dhoni (2011), Daniel Vettori (2012), Mahela Jayawardena (2013), Katherine Brunt (2014) and Brendon McCullum (2015).
According to ICC’s official website, Misbah reacted to the news, saying, “I feel honoured and humbled to have won the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award.”
“To lift the Test mace earlier this year and now this in the twilight of my career, is a message for every athlete that age is not a barrier as long as the sportsperson maintains highest fitness levels and continues to perform up to international standards,” the skipper added.
Talking about team strategy, Misbah said, “As a team, we have focused on playing within the rich traditions of the sport with a positive mindset and approach so that we can entertain the spectators and fans, and at the same time, challenge the oppositions.”
“I am glad that this has been noticed and recognised by the game’s governing body,” he concluded.
Earlier this year Misbah cheekily dropped to his hands and knees and did 10 push-ups in quick succession after he became the oldest Test centurion in 82 years at England’s famous Lord’s cricketing ground.
“That was my promise to the army guys,” Misbah explained later in a press conference.
Last month he also made history on Nov 18 by becoming the first Pakistani to play 50 matches as Test captain at the Hagley Oval ground in Christchurch against the Kiwis.
Cook named as captain of ICC team of year
Alastair Cook was on Thursday named as captain of the International Cricket Council Test team of the year despite speculation over his future as England skipper.
Cook, who has led England to only one win in their last eight matches, was selected to head the ICC side picked by former Test greats Rahul Dravid, Gary Kirsten and Kumar Sangakkara for the sport’s world governing body.
The trio based their decisions on player performances between September 14, 2015 and September 20, 2016, a period not covering England’s 4-0 drubbing to India, Cook’s fourth straight loss as captain.
Cook’s England lost a three-Test series 2-0 to Pakistan in October 2015.
Overall in the period he led England in 14 matches, with six wins, three draws and five losses.
He has been picked alongside Joe Root, wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes.
Root has become the focal point of the batting order in recent years and averages 52.80 in his Test career while Yorkshire team-mate Bairstow broke a 16-year record for the most Test runs in a calendar year by a wicketkeeper in 2016.
Spin king Ashwin crowned cricketer of the year
India’s Ravichandran Ashwin was named ICC cricketer of the year on Thursday, topping off a sensational period in which he has dominated the Test bowling rankings.
The spin-bowling all-rounder, who starred in India’s 4-0 Test series victory over England, was also named Test cricketer of the year for the voting period, which covered the 12 months to September 20.
He becomes only the third Indian player to win the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy, following in the footsteps of batting greats Sachin Tendulkar (2010) and Rahul Dravid (2004).
“It feels great to follow the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid in being named as the ICC cricketer of the year,” Ashwin, 30, said in a statement.
“To also win the ICC Test cricketer of the year makes it even better.”
During the September-to-September voting period, Ashwin took 48 wickets and scored 336 runs in eight Tests. He also snared 27 Twenty20 international wickets.
The Chennai native consolidated top spot in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test bowling charts after he took a series-leading 28 wickets in the five games against England, which wrapped up this week.—AFP