West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul was named as the 2008 International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricketer of the Year at an awards ceremony here on Wednesday.
The 34-year-old left-hander, a mainstay of his side's batting for over a decade, was chosen ahead of his three fellow nominees - Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene, South Africa skipper Graeme Smith and Proteas fast bowler Dale Steyn.
During the voting period, the gritty Guyanese played eight Test matches, scoring 819 runs at an average of 91.00, including three centuries and six fifties, all of which were against the top seven teams in the world.
"I am honoured to be given this prestigious award tonight and I am very thankful to God for blessing me with the talent that I have," Chanderpaul said upon receiving his award.
Chanderpaul, who follows India's Rahul Dravid, all-rounders Andrew Flintoff (England) and Jacques Kallis (South Africa), the joint winners in 2005, and two-time ICC Cricketer of the Year Ricky Ponting, the Australia captain, in taking the award, also played 13 ODIs during the voting period.
He finished top of the averages with 74.75 having scored 598 runs, a haul that included a century and five fifties. He is currently ranked number one in the ICC Test batting rankings and sixth in the list for ODI batsmen.
There was a consolation for Steyn when the paceman was named Test player of the year.
During the 12-month voting period, Steyn took 86 wickets at an average of just 18.10 in the 14 Test matches he played.
No other bowler took more than 58 wickets in the same period and he was the only bowler to earn an average less than 21.50 (of those who played more than three matches).
"I have had a pretty decent year I suppose but I didn't think about winning this award until the past few days," said Steyn.
"I don't really know how I feel. Perhaps tomorrow morning it will have sunk in for me because obviously this is a huge award and it's massive for me," added the bowler, who recently helped South Africa win their first Test series in England since 1965.
India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni was named as the one-day player of the year, while his team-mate Yuvraj Singh won the inaugural international Twenty20 performance of the year award after striking six sixes off an over from England quick Stuart Broad during last year's World Twenty20 in South Africa.
Sri Lanka's 'mystery' spinner Ajantha Mendis was chosen as the emerging player of the year while England captain Charlotte Edwards was named as the women's player of the year.
Australia's Simon Taufel, the only man ever to win his award, was named as umpire of the year for the fifth time in a row.
Dutch all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate won the Associate player of the year award for those outside the Test elite.
Sri Lanka, for the second year in a row, won the spirit of cricket award presented to the team which, in the opinion of the ICC elite panels of umpires and match referees, has best conducted itself on the field.
Chanderpaul and Steyn also featured in the ICC Test team of the year chosen by the ICC selection panel chaired by former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd and including Australia batting great Greg Chappell, recently retired South Africa all-rounder Shaun Pollock, Sidath Wettimuny, the former Sri Lanka opener and former Bangladesh batsman Athar Ali Khan.
Australia fast bowler Brett Lee was the only player included in both the ICC's Test and one-day teams of the year.