Sourav Ganguly has been named the Castrol Asian Cricketer of the Year at the awards handed out in Karachi. Ganguly, who made his way back to the Indian side in December 2006, also won the best overall batsman prize for his outstanding performances in 2007. He was the highest Asian run-getter in Tests in 2007, with 1106 runs, including a career-best 239 not out against Pakistan, besides scoring 1240 runs in ODIs.
Indians and Sri Lankans dominated the inaugural edition of the awards. Muttiah Muralitharan, the joint leading wicket-taker in 2007 with 49 scalps, was honoured with the best overall and best Test bowler. His team-mate Kumar Sangakkara, who reached the No. 1 spot in the ICC Test rankings last year, was awarded the best Test batsman while Farveez Maharoof was the best ODI bowler.
Sachin Tendulkar's phenomenal 1425 runs in ODIs last year fetched him the award for best ODI batsman while Gautam Gambhir, the second highest run-scorer in the World Twenty20, bagged the Twenty20 award. Yuvraj Singh was presented a special award for his six sixes in an over off Stuart Broad in the World Twenty20 in South Africa.
Pakistan's winners included the leading wicket-taker in the World Twenty20, Umar Gul (best Twenty20 bowler), and surprisingly, Kamran Akmal (best fielder/wicketkeeper). Akmal's form has slipped since 2006 and he was dropped from the squad for the Asia Cup after his poor showings.
Among other awards announced, Shoaib Malik, the Pakistan captain, was named the Pakistan Cricketer of the Year, while Ahmed Shehzad, who performed creditably with both bat and ball in the Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia, won the prize for the best junior. Pakistan legend Hanif Mohammad was also honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The awards are based on the Castrol Performance Index - a comprehensive points system which takes into consideration batting, bowling and fielding performances of each player against all teams in all international matches, in all three formats - Tests, ODIs and Tweny20s, during a calendar year.