Thursday, October 8, 2009

Shakib is Wisden Test player of the year

London: Bangladeshi all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan pipped Indian opener Gautam Gambhir and South African captain Graeme Smith to become Wisden Cricketer's World Test Player of the Year on Thursday.

The 22-year-old Shakib topped the performance table of all Test match players based on marks awarded by Wisden Cricketer correspondents, who reported on every Test played during the period.

Shakib averaged 7.94 out of 10 for each of the eight Tests he played between the beginning of September 2008 and the end of August 2009.

Shakib took 45 wickets at 23 with his left-arm spin, including five five-fors, in addition to scoring 498 runs at an average of 35.57.

This performance placed him ahead of more-established Gambhir, Smith, Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis, Andrew Flintoff, Dale Steyn and Andrew Strauss.

"I guess I owe my performance to keeping things simple. I don't lose sleep over disappointments and rather look ahead to seize the next opportunity. I have been a performer and I work hard at my game to become the best cricketer I can be. Getting recognised by The Wisden Cricketer is the pinnacle of individual recognition as far as I am concerned," Shakib said.

Wisden editor John Stern said though a surprise choice, Shakib is deserving for his consistency in the past 12 months.

"I'm sure this achievement will be a surprise to many followers of the game but it represents an outstanding 12 months for Shakib, especially in the context of him playing for an international side that is still finding its feet," he said.

Shakib is bullish about Bangladesh's future prospects and hopes to see it become a top side.

"One day we will be right up there at the top and it is a realistic prospect. Just look at the players we have. Tamim Iqbal, Ashraful, Mortaza can be match-winners and now we have Rubel (Hossain) who can bowl at 90mph.

"Give us a few years to grow together. Teams who face us in the coming months will be taking on a victorious unit and not the Bangladesh of old. There is a difference you will notice," he said.

Wisden Cricketer World Test Player of the Year: 1. Shakib Al Hasan (7.94), 2. Gautam Gambhir (7.63), 3. Graeme Smith (7.21), 4. Sachin Tendulkar (7.00), Jacques Kallis (7.00), 6. Ben Hilfenhaus (6.94), 7. Andrew Flintoff (6.88), Dale Steyn (6.88), 9. Fidel Edwards (6.81), 10. Andrew Strauss (6.77).

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