Sehwag and Steyn win top Cricinfo Awards
Virender Sehwag's match-winning 201 not out against Sri Lanka, and Dale Steyn's 5 for 67 at the MCG, which helped South Africa win a series in Australia for the first time, have been voted the best Test performances of 2008 by a Cricinfo jury. Sehwag's double-hundred won the prize for the Test Batting Performance of the year by a whisker from Graeme Smith's series-winning 154 not out against England at Edgbaston.
The winning ODI performances both came from the same match, the Asia Cup final between Sri Lanka and India: Sanath Jayasuriya's 125 off 114 balls and Ajantha Mendis' 6 for 13.
"It was a breathtaking double-century and it came against a remarkable spin attack," Tony Greig, one of the members of the jury that voted on the awards, said of Sehwag's innings. "Sehwag is, and will be for a while, the most dangerous batsman in world cricket."
The rest of the jury comprised Ian Chappell, Sanjay Manjrekar, David Lloyd, Ramiz Raja, Daryll Cullinan, and five of Cricinfo's senior editors.
The lists of nominees, announced in the first week of this year, were compiled by Cricinfo's global staff. The winners were selected on the basis of a ranking of the performances by the jury, with the players who fetched the most points winning the respective awards. Smith's Edgbaston effort, a favourite, lost out by a single point.
Mendis has been hailed as one of the most exciting new talents in the game, and his win underlines his growing reputation. "Players like him are difficult to find. He is great for the game and we all want his magic to last," Raja said.
Sachin Tendulkar missed out on the jury awards, but he was clearly the favourite with Cricinfo's readers, winning in the Test and ODI batting categories in the Readers' Choice segment of the awards. Tendulkar's match-winning 103 not out in Chennai against England was voted the best Test innings, while his unbeaten 117 against Australia in the first final of the CB Series won the ODI title. The readers agreed with the jury in the bowling awards, though, with Steyn and Mendis taking the prize for Tests and ODIs.
Sehwag also won a number of titles in the Statsguru Awards, which are based on detailed data analyses of the year's performances. In both Tests and ODIs he was the batsman with the highest strike-rate in the year, and the one with the highest boundary percentage. Shivnarine Chanderpaul was the other big winner in the Statsguru Awards, taking the titles for Batsman of the Year, Most Consistent Batsman in Tests, and the one for highest percentage of team runs scored by a single batsman in Tests.
This is the second edition of the Cricinfo Awards. Last year's winners were Kumar Sangakkara and Zaheer Khan in Tests and Adam Gilchrist and Lasith Malinga in ODIs.