Bangalore, Aug 29: Indian captain MS Dhoni won the Castrol Indian Cricketer of the Year award for 2011, here on Wednesday night. However, Dhoni was conspicuous by his absence and Suresh Raina received the honour on his behalf.
There were five finalists in the Indian Cricketer of the Year. Dhoni emerged as the winner as beat his team-mates Sachin Tendulkar, Suresh Raina, Virender Sehwag and R Ashwin. The period evaluation for the awards was January to December, 2011.
Under-19 World Cup winning captain Unmukt Chand was named the Castrol Junior Cricketer of the Year while former India captain Ajit Wadekar won the Castrol Lifetime Achievement in Cricket Award.
A trophy and cheque were given to all award winners. Dhoni and Wadekar got Rs five lakhs cheques while Chand and other winners received Rs two lakhs each.
There were also special awards giving to Tendulkar for completing 100 international centuries earlier this year. Yuvraj Singh was honoured with a Special Award for his Man-of-the-series performance in 2011 World Cup. However, Yuvraj was not present. Yuvraj was in New Delhi to receive the Arjuna Award from the President.
Recently retired Rahul Dravid won the Castrol Indian Test Cricketer of the Year. Tendulkar also won the Castrol Indian Batsman of the Year award.
Offspinner R Ashwin was honoured with the Castrol Indian Bowler of the Year (based on ODI and Test performances only).
Tendulkar gave the award to Wadekar. Speaking after that, Tendulkar said: "It's truly an honour to present this trophy to Wadekar. He was a fantastic coach. Above all, he is a great friend."
Later, after receiving his awards, Tendulkar said it was "unbelievable" to win the World Cup 2011 in Mumbai. He also added that his record of 100 centuries would be broken.
"Records are meant to be broken. Like my double hundred, which was broken. I hope another Indian breaks this record (100 tons)," said Tendulkar.
Ashwin said he will cherish this award all his life. "I am honoured to be here and very happy to receive the award from (EAS) Prasanna. I will cherish this moment all my life." Ashwin was handed over the trophy by former offspin great EAS Prasanna.
Dravid, speaking after getting the award, had this to say. "Castrol awards have been a permanent fixture with me for past 13 years. These awards are special. This will have a pride of place in my home."
The Castrol Awards for Cricketing Excellence were instituted by Castrol in 1997 to recognise and honour the present, past and future of Indian cricket.
From 2008, four more awards were introduced. This year, two more have been added (Performance under pressure).
The biggest award winner of the night was not present and there was no reason given by the organisers for the captain Dhoni missing the ceremony. Unlike Yuvraj, there was no video message from the right-handed wicketkeeper-batsman.
List of Award winners
Castrol Indian Cricketer of the Year: MS Dhoni
Castrol Junior Cricketer of the Year: Unmukt Chand
Castrol Lifetime Achievement in Cricket Award: Ajit Wadekar
Castrol Indian Test Cricketer of the Year: Rahul Dravid
Castrol Indian ODI Cricketer of the Year: Suresh Raina
Castrol Indian Batsman of the Year (based on ODI and Test cricket performances only): Sachin Tendulkar
Castrol Indian Bowler of the Year: R Ashwin
Special Awards: Yuvraj Singh (Man-of-the-series in 2011 World Cup), Virender Sehwag (World record 219 score in ODIs)
Special Achievement Award: Sachin Tendulkar (100 international centuries)
Castrol Performance Under Pressure Award: Gautam Gambhir (97 Vs Sri Lanka in World Cup final 2011)
Castrol stand out Peformance Under Pressure Award: Virat Kohli