England batsman Jonathan Trott was named ICC cricketer of the year while his colleague Alastair Cook walked away with the Test cricketer of the year award at the ICC Annual Awards held in London yesterday night.
There wasn’t much to cheer about for India though as the only Indian player to win a trophy on the night was captain MS Dhoni, who won the Spirit of Cricket award for recalling England batsman Ian Bell after his controversial run-out in the last ball before tea on the third day of the Trent Bridge Test in July.
However, Dhoni wasn’t present to receive his award as like the rest of his colleagues, he chose to give the “Oscars of Cricket” a miss.
When queried as to the reason for the Indian players’ absence despite the team hotel being close to the award ceremony venue, team manager Shivlal Yadav claimed the ICC had sent the invitations far too late. Yadav said he was informed only at 12 noon (British time) by an ICC communication officer by which time “the players were already away, some shopping, some sight-seeing as this was their final day of stay in London”.
ICC Communication Officer Colin Gibson, though, clarified the invitation had been sent to the BCCI on August 26. “The Indian team management had been invited to attend tonight and they were invited some weeks ago. Those who were nominated for awards have known it since 26th of August, in Canterbury, when the short-listed names for the awards were announced,” he said. ICC sources further claimed that they have evidence by mail the BCCI had agreed the Indian team would attend the ceremony.
This is a classic case of one side’s word against the other. But, if the Indian team had received the invitations ahead of schedule or even at 12 noon as they claim, it would have been nice if they had attended what is an important evening for international cricket; definitely of more importance than shopping or sight-seeing! And, this controversy is surely the last thing India needs on what can be best described as a nightmarish tour of England.