Australia's Mitchell Johnson was named the ICC Cricketer of the Year during the LG-ICC awards function, here, on Thursday night.
Johnson is the sixth cricketer to win the Sir Garfield Trophy. The Aussie received the prize from ICC President David Morgan. The winners were selected by a distinguished panel that included former illustrious cricketers, Clive Lloyd, Anil Kumble, Mudassar Nazar, Stephen Fleming, and Bob Taylor.
During the voting period - the 12-month phase from August 2008 - the 27-year-old Johnson claimed 80 wickets in 17 Tests, His best match-figures were 11 for 159 against South Africa in Perth.
He pulled his weight with the bat as well, making 632 Test runs at 30.09. Johnson also played in 16 ODIs, picking up 28 wickets at 24.25. The Australian said he would like to make his mark as an all-rounder.
"I got some swing with the new ball. I spent more time batting at the nets. Of course, I would want to be called an all-rounder. I would like to bat higher up in the ODI batting order."
The left-arm paceman recalled the tour of South Africa when Australia roared back to win the Test series after going down to Graeme Smith's men at home. "I remember getting Smith out when there was little play remaining in the day. And my first Test hundred was special."
Indian opener Gautam Gambhir was adjudged the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year. The left-hander made 1269 runs at a whopping average of 84.60. During this period, he notched up five centuries and four fifties.
"It's been a dream run for me. It's wonderful to be a part of the Indian team, contribute to its success," he said after receiving the award from Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar.
Asked to pick his most memorable efforts, Gambhir replied, "I remember my double hundred at home against Australia. Then, I batted for nearly 11 hours to save the Test at Napier. We went on to defeat New Zealand in the Test series."
Talking about fortune swings, he said, "Last year, I never thought I would make it to the Test team. Things happened very quickly. There was a time when I had lost hope. My coach Vijay Bhargav and my family stood by me. It was also great batting alongside greats like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and V.V.S. Laxman. Dhoni has been a strong captain and a leader."
Gambhir added, " I never play for achievements, never play for awards, never play for adulation. Playing for the country is the biggest motivation."
Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the ODI Cricketer of the Year award. The Indian captain was not present on the occasion.
Dhoni scored 967 runs - including nine fifties - from 24 ODIs at an average of 60.43 (strike rate 86.63). Apart from leading the side, he was involved in 26 dismissals (18 catches and eight stumpings) as a 'keeper. He is presently the top-ranked batsman in ICC's ODI ratings.
Enagland's Claire Taylor clinched the Women Cricketer of the Year award. "Winning the one-day World Cup was the highlight. We learn a lot through the hard times. It makes the good times better. The stadard of women's cricket has gone up," she said,
Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan was adjudged the Twenty20 International Performer of the Year. Dilshan's unbeaten 96 off 57 balls against the West Indies in the ICC World Twenty20 semifinal at the Oval nailed it for the aggressive batsman.
The Sri Lankan said, “I cannot forget the innings against the West Indies. Actually, my career changed after I began to open the innings.”
About his innovative scoop shot over the 'keeper off the pacemen, Dilshan said,“I first tried it during the IPL. It (the stroke) enabled me put pressure on the bowlers.”
Rahul Dravid announced Australia's Peter Siddle as the ICC Emerging Player of the Year. The 24-year-old Aussie paceman picked 49 wickets in 12 Tests at 28.93. His best innings display was five for 21 in the fourth Ashes Test at Headingley.
The Aussie paceman said, "We are a young pack, myself, Mitchell (Johnson) and Ben (Hilfenhaus). We helped each other,enjoyed each other's company."
New Zealand bagged the Spirit of Cricket award. Receiving the prize from Haroon Lorgat, CEO, ICC, Kiwi skipper Daniel Vettori said, "There is so much scrutiny on the game these days. Every time we step on the field, we play the game in the right spirit. Maybe we are a little bit too nice!"
Pakistan's Aleem Dar walked away with the Umpire of the Year prize. Simon Taufel of Australia had won the honour on four occasions. "I am a very cool person. I don't think about mistakes. I concentrate on the next delivery," said Mr. Dar. Ireland's William Porterfield was voted the best player from the Associate nations.
The ICC also announced its Test and ODI team of the Year. The Test team: G. Gambhir, A. Strauss, A. B. de Villiers, S. Tendulkar, T. Samaraweera, M. Clarke, M. S. Dhoni(captain), Shakib-ul-Hasan, M. Johnson, S. Broad, D. Steyn. 12th man: Harbhajan Singh.
The ODI side: Virender, Sehwag, Chris Gayle, Kevin Pietersen, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Yuvraj Singh, Matin Guptill, M.S. Dhoni (captain), Andrew Flintoff, Nuwan Kulasekara, Ajantha Mendis, Umar Gul. 12th Man: Thilan Thushara.