by Sajed Ahmed
No. This isn’t about the Oscars. It’s about the ESPNCricinfo awards where our favorite cricketers turn up with their girlfriends and win awards. That’s just a creepy way to put it. The ESPNCricinfo awards rewards player and team performances that have stood out and showed immense class. As an Indian, I’m very proud of our team. We have had a very good year as far as overall team performance is concerned. And, we’ve won awards too.
Best Batting Performance (ODIs)
No doubts at all. Rohit Sharma joins the all-Indian 200 club to be the third person in ODI history to record a score of above 200 runs in one ODI. His 209 from 158 balls was a very calm and composed innings until the death overs set in. His big shots weren’t shabby. It was remarkable to see him play orthodox cricket shots and get the ball out of the fence. Rohit ended his big run drought with this remarkable innings that gave India the series with a 3-2 win over the Aussies.
Best Bowling Performance (ODIs)
There are bowlers who train and become the best at what they do. And there is Shahid Afridi who uses his vast experience to claim his victims. Afridi’s style of bowling is very unusual. He gets more drift than old man Warney. He bowls more googlies, zooters and wrong ones than leg spinners. And, his quicker deliveries clock upto 130 kmph and are dead straight. Afridi’s 7-12 against the Carribeans in the First game of the ODI series is this year’s best bowling performance. Going into bat, the West Indians had to chase a modest total of 224. But this spell from Afridi caused WI to slump to a mere 98 in 41 overs. As Michael Holding would say, “Shahid Khan “Boom Boom” is a magician.”
Debutant of the Year
Just when the pace scene in India had no consistency and fitness issues, in came Mohammed Shami. A possible replacement to the old fox Zaheer Khan. With a neat action and a steady run up, Shami can rack up some serious pace and swing as well. As MSD mentioned, the seam position of Shami is absolutely straight, which enables reverse swing in both the directions. With 30 Wickets from 20 ODIs and 17 wickets from 4 tests Shami is the Debutant of The Year 2013. The only concern for India is his fitness. In the long run, will Shami be able to stay fit?
Best Batting Performance (Tests)
Trailing by 408 runs in the third test against the mighty Aussies at Mohali, The Indian openers put on a great show with both of them slamming 150s. But the person who stood out was Shikhar Dhawan. The man had a huge load on his shoulders as he had to replace the best opener Delhi has ever produced, Virender Sehwag. Dhawan did so and he did so in style with his exemplary stroke play and finesse. Dhawan’s 187 off 174 balls helped India to a lead of 91 runs in the first innings. India went on to win the test with 6 wickets in hand.
Best Bowling Performance (Tests)
Moustache power. Mitchell Johnson’s 7-40 against England in the second test of the Ashes was my pick for this award as well. The Ashes showed how Mitch matured as a bowler. From being used as the cleanup guy to wrap up the tail to a frontline seamer, Mitch has claimed his position as the spearhead of the Aussie attack. He was quick and effective. Mitch wrecked the morale and batting lineup of the England in a very intimidating fashion.
Cricketer of the Generation
SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR. Enough said.