NEW DELHI- Australian captain Michael Clarke stole the honours in the International Cricket Council awards announced Friday, winning both player of the year and the Test cricketer of the year.
Clarke, whose Australia team have taken a firm grip of the ongoing Ashes series, beat five other nominees including England skipper Alastair Cook to bag the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the player of the year.
“I was very surprised, to be honest, probably because there are so many guys who are playing so well around the world at the moment,” Clarke told the cricket.com.au website.
“I definitely didn’t expect to have won this award but it is a prestigious award and an honour, and something I’m certainly proud of.”
Hashim Amla, James Anderson, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Kumar Sangakkara were the others on the shortlist to miss out.
The awards are based solely on performances over a 12-month period that ended on August 25, 2013 and included the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, the Champions Trophy in England and the women’s World Cup in India.
Clarke won despite a lean time for Australia in that period when they were thrashed 4-0 in India, before losing the Ashes series against England 3-0.
During the voting period, Clarke was the world’s leading run-scorer with 1,559 runs at an average of 70.86, including two double centuries and three other hundreds.
The Australian captain has been in top form in the ongoing return Ashes series at home, lifting his team to a 2-0 lead with centuries in each of the first two Tests in Brisbane and Adelaide.
“I’d swap it for the team to have success, that’s for sure,” Clarke said of the double honour.
“The most special feeling in any team sport is winning, but especially in cricket, alongwith that comes individual performance.”
In the Test player of the year category, Clarke scored over five other nominees — Amla, Anderson, Ravichandran Ashwin, Cheteshwar Pujara and Dale Steyn.
Sri Lanka’s Sangakkara was named the one-day player of the year, while Indian batsman Pujara was voted the emerging player of the year.
Nominees were drawn up by an independent 32-person panel comprising former players and representatives from the media, match referees and umpires. Those who received the highest number of votes were declared the winners.
For the first time since the awards were introduced in 2004, they were not presented at a function but announced through a media release by the ICC.
A television show on the awards, hosted by former Australian captain Ricky Ponting, will be telecast on Saturday, the ICC said.
New Zealand captain Suzie Bates was named the women’s one-day cricketer of the year and Pakistani seamer Umar Gul won the Twenty20 performance of the year award for claiming five wickets for six runs in 2.2 overs against South Africa in March this year.
Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien was voted the best player from non-Test nations, while Richard Kettleborough of England was named the umpire of the year.
Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene won the spririt of cricket award for not waiting for the umpire’s decision after edging a catch when he was on 91 against New Zealand in a Test match in Galle in November 2012.