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Ponting is Player of the Year
Harish Kotian in Mumbai | November 03, 2006 23:04 IST
Last Updated: November 03, 2006 23:13 IST
On a great night for Australian cricket, Ricky Ponting walked away with two of the game's most prestigious accolades at the 2006 ICC Awards, sponsored by Hyundai, in Mumbai on Friday.
Australia's captain was named the ICC Test Player and Player of the Year at a glittering function.
He received the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy, for the Player of Year, from Indian batting ace Scahin Tendulkar and was also presented a car from awards sponsors Hyundai.
The other candidates short-listed for the Player of the Year award were Australia's Michael Hussey, Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan and Pakistan's Mohammad Yousuf.
Earlier, Ponting was named the Test Player of the Year, ahead of Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan and Mohammad Yousuf.
Other Australians to be crowned on Friday were Karen Rolton (women's player of the year), Simon Taufel (umpire of the year) and Michael Hussey (ODI player of the year).
"It's a great thrill to win. To walk away with two awards is a great shock. At the start I actually thought I would win one award," he said.
Now averaging over 58 in Test matches, Ponting had another wonderful year with the bat. At 31, he is far from finished and already has more Test hundreds (31) than anyone, with the exception of Sachin Tendulkar, Steve Waugh and Sunil Gavaskar."It feels good to be voted by your peers, fellow captains and ex-players. It is recognition of the hard work that we have put as team in the last 12 months," he said.
He also added that it felt really great to receive the award from Tendulkar.
"I have always admired Tendulkar. In fact, most of the guys in our team look up to Sachin and dream to be like him. He has scored so many international centuries. He has set new benchmarks," Ponting said.
One of the highlights of the last 12 months for him came in January, against South Africa in Sydney, when he scored a century in both innings of his 100th Test.
His 164 off 105 balls in an ODI at the Wanderers in March was magnificent even though it came in a losing cause, when South Africa chased a world record 438.
In 2005 Andrew Flintoff and Jacques Kallis shared the Player of the Year award, having gained an equal number of votes from the voting Academy, while Indian batsman Rahul Dravid won the prestigious title in the first year of the awards in 2004.
The Test Player of the Year award was also deserving for the Australian captain after his astonishing run of success during the 12 months of the awards period, scoring hundreds in both innings of Test matches in three different games against the West Indies at Brisbane and in Test matches against South Africa in Sydney and Durban.
His 156 at Old Trafford against England was one of the great Ashes innings of all time.
He believes he is really lucky to win the award ahead of compatriot and leg-spinner Shane Warne.
"I think Warne took around 96 wickets during the voting period. I thought it was close between me and him and I am just lucky to have won it," said the Australian captain.
He also congratulated the entire Australian team after quite a few of the players made it the ICC Test and ODI team of the year.
"It was a great night for the Australian team. A few of the guys have been selected in both the teams. It is a testimony of the good year that we had," Ponting added.