Double delight for Tendulkar

Both awards are special. It is special to be recognised by your peers and to be loved by your fans. - Sachin Tendulkar-PICS: K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

During those special minutes of savouring the twin-recognition gifted by the classes and the masses, the master blaster remained grounded. Over to K. C. Vijaya Kumar.

A night suffused with a sense of achievement and nostalgia was played out on October 6 while the retreating monsoon draped its low-slung clouds across the Bangalore skies. For the cricketing world, punch-drunk on the possibilities that a taut Test could throw up as evident in Mohali, it was time again to nurse another high as its favourite sons walked away with the acme of recognition — the LG ICC Awards.

Sachin Tendulkar has climbed many a mountain before with customary elan and grace but the ‘Sir Garfield Sobers Cricketer of the Year' award had proved elusive in his glittering cupboard brimming with trophies. It was time to correct the anomaly and after a riveting 12 months of profuse runs and heart-warming Indian triumphs, the maestro at last plugged one of those few remaining blanks in his impressive CV. He did walk away with the highest award in International cricket while another blank — a missing World Cup — will hopefully be papered over next year.

After Rahul Dravid won the Sir Garfield Sobers award in 2004, it has been a long wait for another Indian to scale the summit and Tendulkar joined the list and enhanced the award's sheen. It soon proved to be a night of double delight as the man with possibly every batting record under his kitty, won the ‘LG People's Choice Award', a recognition bestowed on him by millions of his fans who voted online.

Honoured...Joel Garner, Rachael Hey Hoe Flint and Courtney Walsh, who were inducted into the Hall of Fame.-

During those special minutes of savouring the twin-recognition gifted by the classes and the masses, Tendulkar remained grounded and said: “Both awards are special. It is special to be recognised by your peers and to be loved by your fans. This is recognition of what I have done over the last one year for the team and I am extremely happy. As a team we have done exceedingly well and there were some special victories like the one in Mohali.”

Tendulkar, who scored over 1000 Test runs in the last 12 months besides becoming the first man to score an ODI double hundred while South Africa struggled in Gwalior, seems to have tapped into a hidden reservoir of energy and enthusiasm while the twilight that critics hinted at, seems to have vanished.

On a day when the big man dominated, it was fitting that another batsman, who at one stage was considered to be a Tendulkar-clone before carving a singular path, also won a critical award. Virender Sehwag rightly emerged as the ‘Test Cricketer of the Year' after his 1282 runs bruised bowlers for over a year. Sehwag though now is part of a famous opening combine with Gautam Gambhir being the other vital half and it was heart-warming to see the senior man praise his partner. “Last year, Gautam won this award and I was inspired by that. I think he is one of the finest opening batsmen we have had after Sunil Gavaskar,” Sehwag said.

Among the other winners, A. B. de Villiers, adjudged the ‘ODI Player of the Year', expressed his gratitude to the jury that recognised his prolific bat, and humbly said: “It was a honour to be there at Gwalior and witness Sachin's double ton.” The South African later performed with his band and kept the high and mighty of cricket in good spirits.

It wasn't just fun and games though as a sobering thought lingered while a scribe asked Joel Garner and Courtney Walsh, inductees into the ‘Hall of Fame', about whether the supply of West Indians into the hallowed club will run dry. “No, I don't think so.

We will have some great cricketers coming in and they will become part of this ‘Hall of Fame'. The problem is not that, the problem is that as a team we are not winning enough. That is a worry,” Walsh said.

THE AWARD WINNERS

Sir Garfield Sobers Cricketer of the Year: Sachin Tendulkar.

LG People's Choice Award: Sachin Tendulkar.

Women's Cricketer of the Year: Shelley Nitschke (Australia).

Test Player of the Year: Virender Sehwag.

ODI Player of the Year: A. B. de Villiers (South Africa).

Spirit of Cricket: New Zealand.

Inductees into the ICC Hall of Fame: Bishan Singh Bedi, Joel Garner, Courtney Walsh and Rachael Heyhoe Flint.

Umpire of the Year: Aleem Dar (Pakistan). Emerging Player: Steven Finn (England).

Associate and Affiliate Player: Ryan ten Doeschate (Netherlands).

Twenty20 International Performance of the Year: Brendon McCullum (New Zealand), for his unbeaten 116 against Australia in Christchurch on February 28, 2010.

ICC Test World XI: M. S. Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Simon Katich, Sachin Tendulkar, Hashim Amla, Kumar Sangakkara, Jacques Kallis, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Dale Steyn and Doug Bollinger.

ICC ODI World XI: Ricky Ponting (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Shane Watson, Michael Hussey, A. B. de Villiers, Paul Collingwood, M. S. Dhoni (wicket-keeper), Daniel Vettori, Stuart Broad, Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris.