All right, the International Cricket Council has given us the opportunity, for the first time, to vote for our favourite players. India's Sachin Tendulkar, Australia's Michael Hussey, Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene, England's Andrew Strauss and South African AB de Villiers are five players selected on the basis of some innovative parameters for this year's ICC People's Choice Award.
The parameters by which a five-member ICC selection panel included these cricketing greats for the new award included innovation, dynamism, strength in decision-making, performing well under pressure and also executing a plan to distinction.
Sachin Tendulkar: After serving India for more than 21 years, the Master Blaster is playing some of his finest knocks to the surprise of many. Sachin Tendulkar holds almost every batting record in cricket and still is hungry for more. The Little Master, in 169 Tests, has managed 13,837 runs with 48 centuries and 56 half-centuries. In 442 One-Day Internationals, Sachin has amassed 17,598 runs with 46 tons and as many as 93 fifties. The Indian veteran also holds the distinction of being the first batsman to score double hundreds in One-dayers. The marathon man is all but determined to win the World Cup for India, and maybe, the Favourite Player award as well.
Michael Hussey: Australia's total batsman aka Mr Cricket was the ideal choice to fill in Michael Bevan's giant shoes. In a country like Australia, with immense depth of talent, Hussey has stamped his authority as an archetypal and valuable ambassador. Each time after being written off, the left-hander bounced back with a bang. Hussey maintains an astounding average of 51 apiece in both Tests and ODIs. In his 52 Tests, Hussey has 3,981 runs with 11 centuries and 21 fifties. In 146 ODIs, Hussey has 4,287 runs with 2 tons and 31 half-centuries. After his breathtaking innings against Pakistan, during the World Twenty20, Mike asserted the fact that the Twenty20 format is worthy of being taken as seriously as Tests.
Mahela Jayawardene: Considered as one of the best batsmen produced by Sri Lankan cricket, Mahela Jayawardene is the only batsmen after the legendary Sir Don Bradman to score nine tons at the same venue. Mahela in 113 Tests has scored 9,408 with 28 centuries and 36 half-centuries. In 325 ODIs, Jayawardene has managed 8,964 runs which include 12 tons and 55 fifties. He has been in marvelous form since the IPL 3, where he was promoted to open the innings for the Kings XI Punjab. No one can forget his blistering innings where he clubbed 110 off just 59 balls against KKR. Since then he has relished his role as an opener in the shortest version of the game. Be it T20 or Test cricket, Mahela has been a true champion in all forms of the game.
Andrew Strauss: The England captain was pivotal in the Ashes, helping England regain the Cup with a famous Oval victory against Australia, both as a captain and as a batsman. The left-handed batsman after taking over from Kevin Pietersen has helped England progress with determination and brilliance. Strauss, in 76 Tests, has managed 5,764 runs with 18 centuries and 21 half-centuries. In 108 ODIs, the England captain has accumulated 3,375 runs which include 4 tons and 22 fifties. Strauss's quality as a captain will be tested when England travel Down Under for the Ashes series.
AB de Villiers: The athletic South African is a natural-born sportsman. De Villiers was the second youngest South African to reach 1,000 Test runs after Graeme Pollock. Apart from his batting abilities, AB is seriously quick in the outfield with some breathtaking catches and direct throws to his name. He has played 61 Tests and scored 4,232 runs with 10 centuries and 23 half-centuries. As an ODI batsman, de Villiers has managed 3,616 in 101 games which include 7 tons and 22 fifties. The perfect answer to Jonty Rhodes, AB de Villiers has established himself as South Africa's premier middle order batsman.
These five cricketing giants deservedly made it to the People's Choice Award list after their series of good performances for their team. And now fans have an opportunity this year to pick their winner from amongst these geniuses. The ICC have asked fans to consider the player who during the voting period (24 August 2009-10 August 2010) has had an all-round impact on the sport.
Log on to www.lgpeopleschoice.com and vote for your favourite player.
My vote goes to Sachin Tendulkar, who are you voting for?