Gambhir reaps rich rewards
Gautam Gambhir was presented the Polly Umrigar Award for the 'Best Cricketer 2008-09' following consistent performances throughout the year, at the BCCI awards function in Mumbai on Sunday.
The Delhi batsman, who received a trophy and cheque for Rs 500,000, scored 1,269 runs from eight Tests, at 84.6 (inclusive of five hundreds), during this phase, with memorable efforts of 206 against Australia at Delhi, and a match-saving ten-hour marathon worth 137 against New Zealand at Napier.
He also scored 670 runs from 21 ODIs, and 177 runs from eight T20 Internationals, during the period.
After receiving the award from Board of Control for Cricket in India president Shashank Manohar, Gambhir said he was very happy and honoured to receive the award, a year after his favourite player and India team-mate Virender Sehwag got it.
"Last year Sehwag said that he was happy to receive it after his favourite player (Sachin Tendulkar) had got it. Now I am happy to receive it after my favourite player (Sehwag)," he said.
"It is great to be part of such a great team," Gambhir added.
Image: Gautam Gambhir
Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar was honoured with a special award for completing two decades in international cricket.
Rahul Dravid was honoured with a special memento for taking the most number of catches in Test cricket.
Tendulkar, who was part of the team in the just-concluded Test series against Sri Lanka, said it's great to be ranked as the No 1 Test side.
"This is a reflection of what we have been able to achieve in the last 20 months or so. It is a special day for me and all the Indians. It is great to be sitting on the top," he said.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar
BCCI announces cash rewards
The BCCI announced a cash reward of Rs 25 lakh for each Team India member after they took the No 1 spot in the Test rankings.
Led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India beat Sri Lanka in the third and final Test in Mumbai by an innings and 24 runs to clinch the three-match series 2-0, and top the ICC Test rankings for the first time since its inception in 2003.
"We have decided to give each Indian cricket team member Rs 25 lakh for becoming the number one in ICC Test rankings. Each of the support staff and selection committee members will be given Rs 10 lakh," said BCCI president Shashank Manohar.
Image: MS Dhoni and N Srinivasan
Nawab of Najafgarh
Virender Sehwag's role in India surging to the top is immense. He set up both, the Kanpur as well as the Mumbai Test with blistering knocks of 131 and 293 respectively.
Viru missed the world record of becoming the first player in history to register three triple tons in Tests by just seven runs.
Previously, Sehwag, in 2008, had won the Polly Umrigar Award for outstanding performances in international matches in 2007-08.
Sehwag was quick to acknowledge the support of former captain Sourav Ganguly and said that he (Ganguly) instilled confidence in him by giving him the opportunity to open the innings.
"I shall always be grateful to Sourav. He was the one who brought me up from middle-order to open the innings. He told me that if I don't perform as an opener then I will be shifted to the middle-order," Sehwag said, when asked about the turning point of his career.
Image: Virender Sehwag