Ajantha Mendis, Sri Lanka's 23-year-old spinner, has won the Emerging Player of the Year award at the ICC Awards ceremony in Dubai.
With his mesmerising brand of spin bowling, Mendis has exploded on to the international scene in recent months. In just three Tests against India in July and August, he claimed 26 wickets at an average of 18.38, leaving batsmen trying to work out a new way to play, with his unique array of deliveries, including the so-called Carrom ball.
And it wasn't just in Tests. During the voting period, Mendis played eight ODIs for Sri Lanka including a victorious Asia Cup campaign, and in the process bagged 20 wickets at an average of just 10.25, making him the stand-out newcomer to top-flight cricket.
Mendis was the top choice of the 25-person voting academy, coming in ahead of England's allrounder Stuart Broad, South Africa's fast bowler Morne Morkel and Ishant Sharma of India.
Accepting his award in Dubai from his Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardena, Mendis said: "I am delighted to win the award. It is an honour to play for Sri Lanka and I hope to continue playing for my country for a long time to come."
The Emerging Player of the Year Award was one of eight individual prizes given at this year's ICC Awards. Players eligible for this award must be under 26 years of age at the start of the voting period (August 9, 2007) and have played no more than five Test matches and/or 10 ODIs before the start of the voting period.