ESPNCricinfo Awards 2010 winners unveiled

Cricket

ESPNCricinfo Awards 2010 winners unveiled

VVS Laxman and Dale Steyn have won the top honours in the ESPNcricinfo Awards 2010, which celebrate the best individual performances in 2010 by batsmen and bowlers in Tests, one-day internationals and Twenty20 cricket.  

ESPNcricinfo, the world’s leading cricket website, announced the awards in Bangalore on February 14. The winning performances were by cricketers from India, Pakistan, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.    

 India’s VVS Laxman won the Test batting performance award in recognition for his match-turning 96 against South Africa in the second Test in Durban. Laxman put India in control of a match where no one else made more than a half-century.  

 South African Dale Steyn’s sensational 7 for 51 on an unresponsive pitch in Nagpur won him the award for the best bowling performance of the year.

 Laxman’s India team-mate Sachin Tendulkar took the best ODI batting performance honour for his remarkable 200 not out, the first-ever double hundred in the history of one-day cricket, against South Africa in Gwalior.

 The award for the best Twenty20 batting performance of 2010 went to Australia’s Michael Hussey, who scored 22 runs off four balls in the last over to win Australia the semi-final of the World Twenty20, against Pakistan.  

 The best Twenty20 bowling performance award went to New Zealand’s Tim Southee, for an outstanding spell which fetched him five wickets in nine deliveries against Pakistan in Auckland.

 Pakistan’s Umar Gul was awarded the best ODI bowling performance award for his role in the third ODI against England last year, taking 6 for 42. His impressive bowling allowed Pakistan to come back into the series after having been 0-2 down.    

 This year’s awards were voted on by a jury of cricket greats and cricket experts, which includes Geoffrey Boycott (former England opener), Ian Chappell (former Australia captain), Sanjay Manjrekar (former India batsman), Martin Crowe (former New Zealand captain), Ramiz Raja (former Pakistan captain), Ian Bishop (former West Indies fast bowler) and Sambit Bal (Editor, ESPNcricinfo).

 The ESPNcricinfo Awards were established in 2007. Previous winners include Virender Sehwag, Kumar Sangakkara, Sachin Tendulkar and Chris Gayle.

 The awards are held just days before the start of the ICC Cricket World Cup on February 19. ESPN is delivering multi-platform coverage that celebrates the past and present of cricket’s premier one-day tournament, with ESPNcricinfo delivering coverage online and on mobile devices. In addition to ball-by-ball text commentary, match reports and analyses, and live statistics, the site’s World Cup coverage also includes high-quality video features, a specially produced travel section and a Fantasy game.

 

What the jury said about the award-winning performances…

VVS Laxman: Test batting

Sanjay Manjrekar: “VVS Laxman finds his comfort zone right in the middle of everyone’s discomfort. Where others have failed, VVS finds it most relaxing to bat.”

Sambit Bal: “His batting in the decisive portions of the match is one of the wonders of the game. Where every other batsman struggled with the bounce and the movement, Laxman was on a plain of his own.”

Andrew Miller: “No other batsman made as much as 40, but Laxman transcended the conditions to charm a 96 that might have been 281 on any other deck.”

 

Dale Steyn: Test bowling

Kepler Wessels: “His control, pace and aggression during this particular innings was worthy of the No. 1 fast bowler in the world.”

Sanjay Manjrekar: “He bowled quick and kept it full, and when he keeps it full, the ball swings. One of the best bowling spells seen on Indian soil.”

Sambit Bal: “The pitch had nothing for him but he was quick through the air and got his outswinger, the most potent weapon in the contemporary game, working beautifully.”

 

Tendulkar: ODI batting

Ian Chappell: “When a player holds most of the run-getting records in the game, it’s appropriate that he should become the first to pass 200 in an ODI. This innings was a tribute to his skill and fitness.”

Kepler Wessels: “Sachin Tendulkar played the perfect one-day innings. He made full use of the circumstances. His shot selection, concentration and overall brilliance were a joy to behold.” 

Sharda Ugra: “It was an innings that defied predictions, words, numbers. The first double-century in the 50-over game comes from the owner of the game’s most tired legs, whose prime, until then, had been boxed into the year 1998.”

 

Umar Gul: ODI bowling

Osman Samiuddin: “He was sharp, got the ball to reverse a little but was mostly dead straight, full and very quick. England didn’t know how to deal with it.”

Ramiz Raja: “The performance had everything: control, speed, yorkers and reverse swing. He ever so slightly varied his length and an unbelievable death-over burst floored England when they were cruising.”

Ian Chappell: “When the old ball starts to swing, who you gonna call? Umar Gul. On this occasion he was at his best to destroy England.”

 

Tim Southee: T20 bowling

Ian Chappell: “Tim Southee often promises big things at international level, but on this Boxing Day it was no idle threat. A hat-trick and five wickets in eight balls overall produced a monumental collapse and a much-needed victory over Pakistan.” 

Ramiz Raja: “He swung it with pinpoint accuracy on a batting pitch, and took a well-crafted hat trick. His ability to pick up wickets in the shorter format gives New Zealand a real advantage.”

 

Michael Hussey: T20 batting

Osman Samiuddin: “One of the very best in this format. He planned it beautifully and pulled it off perfectly.”

Ramiz Raja: “The greatest Twenty20 knock of all time. He read the bowlers like he was telepathic, and hit some astonishing angles to win the game.”

Andrew Miller:  “Michael Hussey inflicted some serious whiplash on Pakistan, as a requirement of 48 from 18 became victory with a ball to spare, and the bounds of Twenty20 possibility were extended once again.”

 

ESPNCricinfo Awards Nominees

 

BEST TEST BATTING PERFORMANCE

 

1)  VVS Laxman (India) 73 not out v Australia first Test, Mohali

Australia were scenting victory when they had India at 124 for 8, still 92 short of Australia’s total. With a dogged Ishant Sharma for company, Laxman set about whittling down the target. Even as the tension ratcheted up, he serenely picked the gaps with his trademark style.

 

2) Alastair Cook (England) 235 not out v Australia first Test, Brisbane

Three days into the first Test of the Ashes series, Peter Siddle’s hat-trick and centuries from Michael Hussey and Brad Haddin had England up against it. But Alastair Cook was at the forefront of the fight back, as his double-century blunted the Australian attack, which rarely found its momentum again in the series.

 

3) Azhar Ali (Pakistan) 92 not out v England third Test, The Oval

A young batting unit was finding the swinging pitches of England troublesome, and had subsided for only double-digit totals in the previous two Tests. Middle-order batsman Azhar, playing only his fifth Test, stepped up to make a determined, unbeaten 92 which steered Pakistan past 300 for the first time in the season.

 

4) Ian Bell (England) 78 v South Africa third Test, Cape Town

Bell produced a career-defining innings, a near five-hour vigil that helped England pull off their third last-wicket draw in eight Tests. South Africa’s Dale Steyn was producing his unplayable late swing, Morne Morkel his discomforting bounce, and, at times with the spinners, there were eight men round the bat, but Bell kept them all out.

 

5) VVS Laxman (India) 103 not out v Sri Lanka third Test, P Sara Oval, Colombo

At 62 for 4 early on the fifth day of the final game of the series, India fans were worrying it would be MS Dhoni’s first Test series defeat as captain. Team mate Sachin Tendulkar did the early groundwork and Suresh Raina provided the finishing touches, but Laxman’s sixteenth Test hundred was the centrepiece.

 

6) Mike Hussey (Australia) 134 not out v Pakistan second Test, Sydney.

Pakistan were sniffing their first victory in Australia in a Test for many years, but were denied by a scrapping Hussey. A record 123-run ninth-wicket stand with Peter Siddle sparked one of the great Test turnarounds, and settled lingering doubts over Hussey’s place in the side.

 

7) Hashim Amla (South Africa) 123* v India second Test, Kolkata

An unbeaten eight-hour-and-19-minute stand was one of the best moments in Amla’s recent career. Amla never looked like getting out, seeing off 53.3 overs in the company of the last three batsmen.

 

8.) VVS Laxman (India) 96 v South Africa second Test, Durban

India’s top order faltered in the second innings and the series was slipping away when Laxman produced his seemingly customary second-innings game to defy South Africa’s bowlers and put India in control by swelling the lead towards 300.

 

9) Michael Hussey (Australia) 116 v England third Test, Perth

Australia had been hammered in the second Test in Adelaide before a magic spell from Mitchell Johnson brought them back into contention in the first innings of the third Test in Perth. But with the home side at 64 for 3, England were clawing back, before Hussey dragged Australia to the verge of a series-levelling win.

 

10) Virender Sehwag (India) 109 v Sri Lanka first Test, Galle

Sri Lanka had piled up 520 in the first innings and India’s top order had not started well in reply, with Gautam Gambhir falling in the first over. Rahul Dravid misjudged a run to be dismissed early and Sachin Tendulkar missed a sweep off a full ball to be trapped lbw. While those wickets were tumbling, Sehwag was crafting another of his fine innings, crashing boundaries at will.

 

BEST TEST BOWLING PERFORMANCE

 

Dale Steyn (South Africa) 7 for 51 v India first Test, Nagpur

Steyn took the docile pitch, on which South Africa amassed 558, out of the equation with a devastating spell of seam and swing bowling to bowl out India for 233.

 

Mitchell Johnson (Australia) 6 for 38 v England third Test, Perth

In a devastating spell, Johnson got the ball to swing to dismiss Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Paul Collingwood. He returned to polish off the tail to record his second-best Test figures. Australia rode on Johnson’s inspired spell to win the game, and Ricky Ponting later said it was one of the all-time best Ashes spells.

 

Mohammad Asif (Pakistan) 6 for 41 v Australia second Test, Sydney

Mohammad Sami had bruised Australia with a three-wicket burst, which included the wickets of Ponting and Shane Watson, before Asif imposed himself. In the period leading up to tea, he removed Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, Marcus North and Brad Haddin. He returned later to remove the tail to finish with career-best figures as Australia were bowled out inside 45 overs.

 

Morne Morkel (South Africa) 5 for 20 v India first Test, Centurion

Dale Steyn bowled out Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar, before Morne rattled the middle and the lower order to bowl out India for 136 on the first day of Test series.

 

James Anderson (England) 6 for 17 v Pakistan first Test, Nottingham

Anderson needed less than one session to bowl England to a 354-run victory. Anderson claimed his first ten-wicket match haul after his 5 for 54 in the first innings. 

 

Mohammad Amir (Pakistan) 5 for 52 v England third Test, The Oval

Amir had knocked out Andrew Strauss early in the second innings but England recovered to reach 194 for 4 and looked set to pose a stiff target when they were undone against some classy reverse-swing bowling. Amir had Jonathan Trott and Paul Collingwood edging their cuts and induced Matt Prior to edge a reverse-swinging delivery from round the stumps. Pakistan went on to register their only Test win of the series.

 

Wahab Riaz (Pakistan) 5 for 63 v England third Test, The Oval

Debutant Riaz set up a win with a five-wicket haul in the first innings. He knocked out Strauss, Trott and Pietersen before lunch on the opening day before adding Eoin Morgan and Stuart Broad to his tally.

 

Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka) 5 for 50 v India first Test, Galle

India were following on during the fourth day and had seemingly recovered from a poor start, courtesy of a 119-run partnership between Tendulkar and Dravid, when Malinga changed the course of the game. He had Dravid flicking to leg gully and then yorked Tendulkar. Next morning, he produced another reverse-swinging ball that curved away from the leg stump line to york MS Dhoni.

 

James Anderson (England) 4 for 51 v Australia second Test, Adelaide

Anderson reduced Australia to 3 for 2 in the third over, their worst start to a Test innings in 60 years.. England went on to win the Test and get ahead in the series after the deadlock in the first Test.

 

Harbhajan Singh (India) 5 for 59 v South Africa second Test, Kolkata

Hashim Amla proved irremovable but Harbhajan found a way around him to bowl India to a series-levelling win. With only nine mandatory balls to go, Harbhajan trapped Morne Morkel, who had put together a 76-minute last-wicket stand with Amla, with a slider, to trigger celebrations.

 

BEST ODI BATTING PERFORMANCE

 

Cameron White (Australia) 105 v Pakistan first ODI, Brisbane

White’s century flattened Pakistan and Australia eased home with five wickets remaining. The highlight of the innings was three consecutive sixes.

 

Sachin Tendulkar (India) 200 not out v South Africa second ODI, Gwalior

Tendulkar scored 200 – a record that had not been broken in 2961 ODIs.  He had made 191 by the end of the 45th over.

 

Hashim Amla (South Africa) 129 v West Indies fourth ODI, Dominica

Early in his career Amla was seen as something of a Test specialist. But over the last two years he has shown he can score at the pace demanded by the ODI game. The series against the West Indies was his finest, and in it he pillaged 402 runs in five matches, including 129 in the fourth ODI, which helped South Africa chase down 304.

 

Shahid Afridi (Pakistan) 109 v Sri Lanka first ODI, Dambulla

Pakistan cricket was going through a crisis, with several of their senior players banned due to disciplinary trouble. Afridi was put in charge of a revamped side and he responded with his finest and most mature innings. He dragged Pakistan to within 38 of victory before falling to a catch from Kumar Sangakkara.

 

Eoin Morgan (England) 103 not out v Australia first ODI, Southampton

After 25 overs of England’s innings, there was little to separate the sides, before Morgan’s dazzling 103 made the difference. He struck 16 boundaries and drove England home with four overs to spare.

 

Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) 106 v New Zealand fourth ODI, Mirpur

A dominant all-round performance from Shakib helped Bangladesh secure an historic series win in Mirpur, their first against a top-flight opposition. Shakib’s fifth ODI century rescued the home team from the depths of 44 for 3 and lifted them to a formidable 241.

 

Angelo Mathews (Sri Lanka) 77 not out v Australia first ODI, Melbourne

Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga produced one of the great one-day international fight backs to clinch an improbable victory for Sri Lanka. The visitors seemed destined for a humiliating loss when they crashed to 107 for 8 chasing 240, but Mathews and Malinga kept fighting, spurred on by noisy support from a crowd dominated by Sri Lankan fans. Mathews was the architect of the comeback. His 84-ball innings included eight fours and one six and was defined by a regular pinpointing of gaps in the field.

 

Abdul Razzaq (Pakistan) 109 not out v South Africa second ODI, Abu Dhabi

Razzaq produced one of his game-stealing specials to haul Pakistan to a series-levelling victory. It was scarcely scriptable, and only when Razzaq hit his tenth six in the last over, slogging Albie Morkel over midwicket to end an unimaginable frenzy of power-hitting, was a Pakistan win even worth contemplating.

 

Virender Sehwag (India) 110 v New Zealand sixth ODI, Dambulla

On a tricky, bowler-friendly pitch, where most of his team-mates struggled to get bat on ball, Sehwag appeared to be playing on a typical run-filled sub continental one-day track, making a match-winning century that carried India to victory.

 

Virat Kohli (India) 118 v Australia first ODI, Visakhapatnam

India had been set a target of 290 and had stumbled to 35 for 2, but with the help of Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, Kohli put his side back on track. 

 

BEST ODI BOWLING PERFORMANCE

 

Ryan Harris (Australia) 5 for 19 v Pakistan fourth ODI, Perth 

Harris launched his one-day career in some style. Under lights he made good use of the bounce of the Perth pitch, mixing it with changes in length and controlled movement.

 

Doug Bollinger (Australia) 4 for 28 v West Indies second ODI, Adelaide

Bollinger struck early, pinning the in-form Chris Gayle with late swing off the first ball of the match. Runako Morton met with the same fate in Bollinger’s third over and Lendl Simmons fell to the full delivery that slanted across and nipped away to take the outside edge. From 16 for 4, only one man could hit West Indies out of the rut, but Bollinger had other plans. He returned in the 29th over to force a mis-hit out of Kieron Pollard. Game Australia.

 

Shane Bond (New Zealand) 4 for 26 v Australia fifth ODI, Wellington

The series may have been lost, but that did not deter Bond from one final tilt at his favourite opponents, in his final one-day game. Chasing 242, Australia had got off to a chirpy start before Bond began to rein them in.

 

Ashish Nehra (India) 4 for 40 v Sri Lanka Asia Cup final, Dambulla

Nehra exploited the bounce in the Dambulla track under lights to hand India the Asia Cup. His first spell effectively sealed the deal, as he took the wickets of Sri Lanka’s three biggest guns in quick succession.

 

Stuart Broad (England) 4 for 44 v Australia second ODI, Cardiff

Australia’s openers had motored along to a 50-run stand before Broad induced Tim Paine to edge one down the leg side, setting the tone for an energetic spell. Soon after, Broad ripped the heart out of Australia’s batting, getting Ponting  and Michael Clarke with the kind of bouncer that he’s now famous for.

 

Graeme Swann (England) 4 for 37 v Australia third ODI, Old Trafford

Swann restricted Australia to 212 – a score England managed to overhaul as they sealed the series with two games to spare.

 

Ryan Harris (Australia) 5 for 32 v England fourth ODI, The Oval

Harris’ performance helped Australia pull one back against England after conceding the series 3-0. It was the perfect setting for Harris – bowling at sundown with a big score to defend – and he made it count.

 

Umar Gul (Pakistan) 6 for 32 v England third ODI, The Oval

Pakistan sparkled briefly thanks to Umar Gul’s crackling spells to bring them back level from 0-2 down in the five-match series against England.

 

Rubel Hossain (Bangladesh) 4 for 25 v New Zealand fifth ODI, Mirpur

Rubel took advantage of a top order that was lacking in confidence. He took Brendon McCullum, Jesse Ryder, an in-form Kane Williamson and finally Kyle Mills with a perfect yorker.

 

Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka) 5 for 46 v Australia first ODI, MCG

It’s a game that will forever be remembered for Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga’s extraordinary ninth-wicket stand of 132, but before that, Perera bullied Australia with an attacking spell of seam bowling.

 

BEST T20 BATTING PERFORMANCE

 

Mohammad Shahzad (Afghanistan) v Ireland World T20 qualifier, Dubai

Shahzad’s 65 meant Afghanistan won the ICC World Twenty20 qualifier, a remarkable feat considering they were in Division 5 of the ICC’s World Cricket League in 2008.

 

David Warner (Australia) v West Indies second Twenty20, Sydney 

Warner’s massacre of the West Indies at the SCG was an advertisement for how entertaining Twenty20 matches can be. Warner smashed three sixes and a four from the first four balls he faced.

 

Brendon McCullum (New Zealand) 116 v Australia second Twenty20, Christchurch

In a thriller of a match that saw New Zealand win, Brendon McCullum’s 116 off just 56 was the standout performance.

 

Michael Hussey (Australia) 60 not out v Pakistan World Twenty20 semi-final, St Lucia

Michael Hussey’s match-winning innings, in which he scored 22 runs off four balls in the last over put Australia in the finals of the World Twenty20.

 

Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka) 98 not out v West Indies World Twenty20, Barbados

Jayawardene’s 98 against West Indies capped off a run in which he scored 279 runs at 139.50 in three T20 games.

 

Kevin Pietersen (England) 53 v South Africa World Twenty20, Barbados

Kevin Pietersen celebrated his imminent fatherhood with a blistering half-century. He sent a message to South Africa with the way he played their premier fast bowler Dale Steyn, smashing him for two fours including a ruthless cover drive in his first over.

 

Chris Gayle (West Indies) 98 v India World Twenty20, Barbados

Gayle was at his destructive best, but also at his most mature, as he batted for all bar two balls of the innings. Rather than trying to smash everything before him, he assessed the conditions were tougher than expected after overnight rain, and was steady early on. It was a captain’s knock from Gayle as he kept his side in the tournament.

 

Suresh Raina 101 v South Africa World Twenty20, St Lucia

What ended up being a disappointing tournament for India started with a blazing century by Suresh Raina. What was most impressive about the innings was that he only faced three balls of spin, against which he is lethal, and had to get his runs off the seamers.

 

 

BEST T20 BOWLING PERFORMANCE

 

Shaun Tait (Australia) 3 for 13 v Pakistan only Twenty20, Melbourne

Having quit first-class cricket to focus on the shorter formats, Tait vindicated his decision with a display of raw pace that saw him record the fastest ball bowled in Australia when he clocked 160.7km/h with his third delivery of the match.

 

Graeme Cremer (Zimbabwe) 3 for 11 v West Indies only Twenty20, Port-of-Spain

Zimbabwe’s effort to restrict West Indies to 79 lay to rest the notion that Twenty20 cricket is only about big-hitting batsmen.

 

Tim Southee (New Zealand) 5 for 18 v Pakistan, first Twenty20, Auckland

Southee ripped the heart out of the Pakistan line-up with a brutal spell that included a hat-trick and fetched him five wickets in nine deliveries.

 

Ian Butler (New Zealand) 3 for 19 v Pakistan World Twenty20, Barbados   

Butler’s last over gave New Zealand a tense one-run victory. He had already played a vital role in helping his side defend 133, taking the crucial wickets of Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi.

 

Steve Smith (Australia) 3 for 20 v West Indies World Twenty20, St Lucia

Before he was called up to the Ashes squad, it was in Twenty20 that Smith first announced himself to the cricket world. In St Lucia he served notice of his talent with a ripping legbreak that dragged the dangerous Kieron Pollard out of his crease and had him stumped.

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