Rahul Dravid crowned ICC Player of the Year

Published: Wednesday, September 8, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Indian batsman Rahul Dravid was crowned Player of the Year and Test Player of the Year at the inaugural International Cricket Council (ICC) awards at Alexandra Palace.

And there was further joy for India when left-arm quick Irfan Pathan was crowned Emerging Player of the Year.

Meanwhile England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff was chosen as One-day International Player of the Year.

Although world champions Australia, also the world's best Test team, did not win any of the individual awards - apart from Simon Taufel's Umpire of the Year - they did see captain Ricky Ponting chosen to lead both Test and One-day International Teams of the Year.

In total five players made it into both Test and One-day sides with three from Australia - Ponting, wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist and fast bowler Jason Gillespie.

Sri Lanka quick Chaminda Vaas and South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis also made it into both teams.

In the year under consideration, from August 1, 2003 to July 31, 2004, 31-year-old Dravid scored 1241 runs in nine matches at an average of 95.46.

That included a Test-best 270 against Pakistan in April. In the vote taken from the ICC's voting academy, which included all 10 current Test captains, Dravid polled 82 votes.

"It's unbelievable really, Dravid said on receiving his Player of the Year award, the Sir Garfield Sobers trophy named in honour of the great West Indian all-rounder.

"I think better preparation and a more relaxed state of mind have been the keys to my success this year," Dravid added.

Hayden finished second with 53 votes with England fast bowler Stephen Harmison third with 38 and Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan fourth with 30.

Flintoff's award came 24 hours after his partner, Rachael, gave birth to the couple's first child, a daughter called Holly.

"Yesterday (Monday) was probably the best day of my life. Holly came a little bit out of the blue, she wasn't due for a couple of months," Flintoff said on receiving his award.

"But she's doing fine. And now this week seems to be getting better," the 26-year-old Lancashire star added.

In the 12 One-day matches played by Flintoff in the year under consideration he scored 551 runs at an average of 78.71 with a best of 123 against West Indies at Lord's, his second One-day hundred in as many matches.

"He also took 12 wickets at 20.50. Flintoff polled 58 votes compared to second-placed India batsman Sachin Tendulkar (47).

"I'm going through something of a purple patch, not just in my cricket but in my life," added Flintoff. "If you'd said to me three years ago I'd have been here when it (cricket) was all going wrong, I wouldn't have believed you.

"But it's also a credit to the way England have been playing."

Flintoff's England teammate and close friend Stephen Harmison, himself named in the Test team of the year, said: "It's been a massive 24 hours for Andrew. But it's the next 20 years that will be tough," joked the fast bowler who already has two children of his own.

Pathan, 19, polled 100 votes to claim the award ahead of Pakistan batsman Yasir Hameed (75) votes in an event billed as the 'Oscars of cricket.'

He took 16 Test wickets at an average of 38.00 and 36 One-day wickets at 23.19.

Meanwhile Ponting said being named captain of both sides was a "testament to the strength of Australian cricket".

The world's leading players are in England for the ICC Champions Trophy, the mini World Cup, which gets underway on Friday.

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