ICC awards 2009 October 1, 2009

Johnson is ICC Cricketer of the Year

Cricinfo staff

Mitchell Johnson became the sixth player to win the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy after being named as the 2009 ICC Cricketer of the Year at the ICC Awards ceremony in Johannesburg.

Johnson fought off stiff competition to take the award from fellow short-list nominees Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni, as well as England captain Andrew Strauss.

Johnson follows in the footsteps of India's Rahul Dravid (2004), Andrew Flintoff of England and South Africa's Jacques Kallis (joint winners in 2005), Ricky Ponting of Australia (2006 and 2007) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (2008) to take the top award.

"I'm really blown away," he said after receiving the honour. "I am just surprised to be up here. It has been a great 12 months for our side. We have lost some wonderful players in recent years and we have been rebuilding with some young guys in the team and we have played together well.

"I'm enjoying the game at the moment - that makes all the difference. The highlight for me was actually my first century in a Test match. I would be quite happy to wear the tag of allrounder so I have been pleased with how my batting has come on. Also, winning in South Africa was a huge high for us.

"I'd like to thank my team-mates, friends and family and my fiancée for putting up with the ups and downs over the last year or so."

ICC President David Morgan congratulated Johnson on his victory: "Mitchell has worked extremely hard over the past year to be an integral part of Australia's bowling line-up and his effective batting style has turned him into one of the top all-round cricketers," Morgan said. "His statistics for the last 12 months show how worthy a winner of this title he is.

"I would like to extend my congratulations to Mitchell on winning the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy. He had some tough competition to overcome, the likes of Gautam, Mahendra and Andrew but no one can deny he has been a stand-out player over the past 12 months."

During the voting period, Johnson played 17 Test matches, taking 80 wickets, which was easily the highest number by any Test bowler in the voting period. His best match bowling figures were 11-159 against South Africa in Perth in December of last year and Johnson's economy-rate over the whole period was a mere 3.12.

His batting skills shouldn't be forgotten either for in the last year he has managed to score a total of 632 runs for Australia, including a century and three half-centuries, to register an average of 30.09.

Johnson also played 16 ODI matches in this time taking 28 wickets at an average of 24.25 and an economy rate of 5.06, his best haul being 4-34 against South Africa in April of this year. He is currently ranked third in the ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers and is 11th in the ODI rankings.

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