Rahul Dravid picked up both the Test Player of the Year and the Player of the Year at the inaugural ICC awards ceremony at Alexandra Palace in London on Tuesday night. "It was a great honour, totally unexpected," said Dravid. "I was very surprised because a lot of people here have had a good year. I'm really happy, and honoured, to be selected."
Earlier, the first award of the night, Umpire of the Year, went to Simon Taufel, the young Australian official. He received the most votes from cricket's Test captains and match referees.
The next award, Emerging Player of the Year, went to Irfan Pathan, the 19-year-old Indian left-arm pace bowler. "I feel really good about this," said Pathan. "I have the confidence to do well in international cricket, but this award will boost my confidence even more. It will motivate me a lot, but it's a big motivation to play for India anyway. Every single match is a big challenge."
Malcolm Speed, the ICC's chief executive, praised Pathan: "On behalf of the ICC and the cricket community, we congratulate Irfan Pathan on winning the Emerging Player of the Year award. He is a highly gifted player, and along with the other nominees in this category, [has] a very bright future in cricket."
The New Zealand team won the Spirit of Cricket Award, while Andrew Flintoff, rounding off an excellent summer, scooped the One-Day Player of the Year prize. Flintoff, 26, took 12 wickets at an average of 20.50, and scored 551 runs at an incredible 78.71 during the year-long voting period. Unsurprisingly, Flintoff was also part of the one-day team of the year.
Flintoff was his usual self-effacing self, saying: "If somebody had said three years ago that I'd be up here with Ricky [Ponting], and Jacques [Kallis], I probably wouldn't have believed them," said Flintoff. "My career over the past 18 months has taken a massive turnaround. I'm in a bit of a purple patch at the moment - not only in my cricket, but in my life."
And Flintoff, who became a father earlier in the week, concluded: "My job's been made easier by the class players in the [England] side. We're really just 11 mates who go out and play, and enjoy each other's company, and enjoy each other's successes."
Ehsan Mani, the ICC's president, explained: "Andrew Flintoff has certainly had a tremendous year in 2003-04, and we congratulate him on winning this award."
World one-day XI
1 Adam Gilchrist (wk), 2 Sachin Tendulkar, 3 Chris Gayle, 4 Ricky Ponting (capt), 5 Brian Lara, 6 Virender Sehwag, 7 Jacques Kallis, 8 Andrew Flintoff, 9 Shaun Pollock, 10 Chaminda Vaas, 11 Jason Gillespie.
World Test XI
1 Matthew Hayden, 2 Herschelle Gibbs, 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Rahul Dravid, 5 Brian Lara, 6 Jacques Kallis, 7 Adam Gilchrist (wk), 8 Chaminda Vaas, 9 Shane Warne, 10 Jason Gillespie, 11 Stephen Harmison.