Chanderpaul bags ICC Cricketer of the Year 2008

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Dubai, Sep 11 (UNI) West Indies' Shivnarine Chanderpaul has become the fifth player to win the coveted Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy after being named as the Cricketer of the Year at the LG ICC Awards ceremony here last night.

Chanderpaul, who was also short-listed last year, fought off competition from other nominees Mahela Jayawardena from Sri Lanka, as well as South African skipper Graeme Smith and Dale Steyn to take the top award.

''I am honoured to be given this prestigious award tonight and I am very thankful to God for blessing me with the talent that I have. I would like to thank my family - in particular my wife Amy - for their constant support over the years,'' after receiving the award Chanderpaul said.

''A special thank you goes out to my manager, my agent and all my supporters in the Caribbean and throughout the world. It's also important that I thank my team-mates without whom this wouldn't have been possible.

''My congratulations go out to all the other winners tonight- these awards are great for the players and it is an honour even to be nominated. I am thrilled to have won,'' he added.

Chanderpaul follows in the footsteps of India's Rahul Dravid (2004), Andrew Flintoff of England and South Africa's Jacques Kallis (joint winners in 2005) and Ricky Ponting of Australia (2006 and 2007) to take the top award.

''Shivnarine has been a rock in the West Indies batting line-up for many years and he thoroughly deserves this award. His contribution to the game has been immense and he epitomises the sort of dedication, bravery and skill required to excel at the highest level,'' ICC President David Morgan said.

''I would like to extend my very best congratulations to Shivnarine for winning the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy. He had some tough competition to overcome in the form of Mahela, Graeme and Dale but no one can deny that he has been one of the shining lights in the world game over the past 12 months or so,'' he said.

During the voting period, the left-hander from Guyana played eight Test matches, scoring 819 runs at an average of 91.00, including three centuries and six fifties, all of which were against the top seven teams in the world.

He also played 13 ODIs during that time, finishing top of the averages with 74.75 having scored 598 runs, a haul that included a century and five fifties. He is currently ranked number one in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen and is sixth in the rankings for ODI batsmen.

The Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the ICC Cricketer of the Year was one of eight individual prizes given at this year's LG ICC Awards. Chanderpaul also featured on the ICC Test Team of the Year as picked by the ICC selection panel.

The panel was chaired by West Indies legend Clive Lloyd and included former Australia captain Greg Chappell, recently retired South Africa all-rounder Shaun Pollock, former Sri Lanka opener Sidath Wettimuny and former Bangladesh batsman Athar Ali Khan.

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