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Dravid walks away with honours

By Vijay Lokapally

Rahul Dravid has his hands full after winning the prestigious ICC Player of the Year and Test Player of the Year awards on Tuesday night in London. The Indian vice-captain scored 1,241 runs at an average of 95.46 in nine Tests in the 12-month perio d up to July 2004. — AP

LONDON, SEPT. 8. Rahul Dravid grew in stature at the inaugural ICC Awards, winning two major prizes to enhance his image in the cricket world.

Dravid claimed the coveted award of the evening — The Player of the Year — in addition to being adjudged the Test player of the Year. He also found a place in the Test Team of the Year.

Irfan Pathan walked away with Emerging Player Of The Year award. The evening was made memorable by Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar earning a place in the One Day Team of the Year.

The ICC Awards gave credence to the game's most successful players of the past 12 months.

The voting panel included the 10 ICC full member captains, the Emirate Elite Panel of eight ICC umpires, seven members of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC referees and a combination of 25 former cricketing legends and members of the media.

Dravid aggregated 64 votes to win the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy as he beat the challenge from England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff (44), South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis (44) and Australian batsman Matthew Hayden (38).

For the Test Player award, Dravid polled 82 votes, ahead of Hayden (53), England fast bowler Steve Harmison (38) and Sri Lankan great Muthiah Muralitharan (30). Dravid's aggregate during the 12 months voting period (August 1, 2003 to July 31, 2004) was 1,241 runs from nine Tests at an average of 95.46.

Lot more to achieve

Dravid said that the awards meant a lot to him. "The honour would spur me towards greater performance in future.

"The good performances have come about because of better fitness. It is also because I am more relaxed about my cricket and am also more comfortable as a person. But I still believe there is a lot to achieve."

Pathan claimed 100 votes ahead of Pakistan's Yasir Hameed (75 votes) and Australia's Michael Clarke (45). Pakistan's young fast bowler Umar Gul polled 21 votes.

Pathan, who remarked that playing for India was the greatest motivation for him, added "for me making my debut for India was the biggest moment of my life. But I will cherish this because this is the first award I have won."

The one-day international player of the year award was bagged by the hugely-gifted English all-rounder Andrew Flintoff. He collected 58 votes and was followed by Tendulkar (47), Adam Gilchrist (36) and Ricky Ponting (36).

Simon Taufel was rated the best umpire of the year by Test captains and the match referees.

The awards:

Player of the Year:Rahul Dravid (India); Test Player of the Year: Rahul Dravid (India); ODI player of the Year: Andrew Flintoff (England); Emerging Player of Year: Irfan Pathan (India); Umpire of the Year: Simon Taufel (Aus); Spirit of Cricket Award:New Zealand.

Test Team of the Year: Matthew Hayden, Herschelle Gibbs, Ricky Ponting (captain), Rahul Dravid, Brian Lara, Jacques Kallis, Adam Gilchrist, Chaminda Vaas, Shane Warne, Jason Gillespie and Stephen Harmison.

ODI Team of the Year: Adam Gilchrist, Sachin Tendulkar, Chris Gayle, Ricky Ponting (captain), Brian Lara, Virender Sehwag, Jacques Kallis, Andrew Flintoff, Shaun Pollock, Chaminda Vaas and Jason Gillespie.

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