K.C. Vijaya Kumar
Hanif Mohammad, Yuvraj, Gambhir also pick up honours
Karachi: The lights dimmed and Sourav Ganguly flickered on the screen. Ganguly spoke about “being honoured to win the award” and faded out on perhaps one of the brightest days of his life.
Ganguly won the inaugural Castrol Asian Cricketer of the Year award for the year 2007 and also bagged the overall award for batting but he could not attend the function here on Friday afternoon.
However Dona Ganguly represented her husband and after picking up the awards, said, “I also feel honoured.” Ganguly in the video tape that was screened, spoke about being with his ailing father in London.
The day’s lustre gained a sepia tinge as the original little master Hanif Mohammad was honoured with the Pakistan Lifetime Achievement award.
“There were two deliveries left for the day and I saw that my score was 496 on the scoreboard. I went for a single and after that since I was keen to retain strike for the last delivery, ran for the second and got run out.
“And when I walked back I saw that the scoreboard was corrected and that I had actually scored 499. If I had only known that I would have tried and scored the required runs in the last delivery!" said Hanif while recounting his famous first class innings of 1959 vintage.
Besides Ganguly, the other Indians who figured in the Castrol Asian Cricketers’ awards list were Sachin Tendulkar, best ODI batsman; Gautam Gambhir, best Twenty20 batsman and Yuvraj Singh, who won a special award for his six sixers off a Stuart Broad over in the ICC World Twenty20 last year. Gambhir spoke about ‘rising confidence’ and also expressed his gratitude to opening partner Virender Sehwag, while Yuvraj said that he struck straight as Broad persisted in his attempt to bowling yorkers. Tendulkar could not attend the function.
Two for Murali
The Sri Lankans swept the other awards with Muttiah Muralitharan getting two awards — overall award for bowling and also the best bowler award in Tests. Kumar Sangakkara was adjudged as the best Test batsman and Farveez Maharoof won the ODI bowler award.
For host Pakistan, Umar Gul won the Twenty20 bowler award and Kamran Akmal bagged the overall fielding award, which did raise a few eyebrows in the gathering as the wicket-keeper has struck a rough patch with his gloves and has been dropped from the team.
Shoaib Malik won the Pakistan Cricketer of the Year award. Zaheer Abbas, Wasim Akram, Sanath Jayasuriya and other greats attended the function, which was compered by Rameez Raja. The Asian Cricket Council Chairman Ashraful Haq was also present.