Mahendra Singh Dhoni may have picked up the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award but surprisingly, the Indian captain did not win the popularity contest as Kumar Sangakkara, the former Sri Lankan captain, walked away from the LG ICC Awards 2011 night with the LG People’s Choice Award.
Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara has become the second-ever recipient of the LG People’s Choice Award at the LG ICC Awards in London. Sangakkara was voted to the award by the general public and beat off strong competition for the award from South Africa’s Hashim Amla, England’s Jonathan Trott, West Indies’ Chris Gayle and India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The award, which was introduced last year at the LG ICC Awards in Bengaluru, was chosen by cricket fans around the world who, over the course of four weeks had the opportunity to vote for their favourite player. Sangakkara was unable to collect the award in person due to current playing commitments in the Sri Lanka Test series against Australia in Colombo. Andy Mackay, LG Electronics UK Commercial Director, announced that the Sri Lankan had scooped the prize at the ceremony in London.
Upon hearing the news of winning the award, Sangakkara said:
It’s a great privilege having won this award especially since it was voted for by the fans. I would like to thank all of you, not just those who voted for me but everyone who come, day in and day out, to watch us play.
We will continue doing our best to entertain you and keep attracting more and more fans to see this wonderful sport.
The cricketers were selected on the basis of some really innovative parameters, in sync with the values that embody brand LG, by a five-man ICC selection panel. This panel was chaired by former West Indies captain and current chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee Clive Lloyd and includes former international players Zaheer Abbas of Pakistan, Mike Gatting of England, Paul Adams of South Africa and Danny Morrison of New Zealand.
The values by which the winner was judged include innovation, dynamism, strength in decision-making, performing well under pressure and executing a plan to distinction. The winner of this award should demonstrate an ability to engage spectators and should also embody the game’s unique spirit, both on and off the field. Based on the period between 11 August 2010 and 3 August 2011, the LG ICC Awards 2011 – presented in association with FICA – take into account performances by players and officials in a remarkable period for the game. That period includes such high-profile events as the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the ICC Intercontinental Cup final, several ICC World Cricket Leagues as well as several bilateral Test and ODI series.
The LG ICC Awards ceremony is now in its eighth year and this year it will be held in London, England. Previous ceremonies were held in London (2004), Sydney (2005), Mumbai (2006), Johannesburg (2007 and 2009), Dubai (2008) and Bengaluru (2010).
One would have thought given Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s meteoric rise as leader and popular cricketer, the award would be going his way. However, Sangakkara being the awardee shows that cricket is not merely a popularity contest.