Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara has been named ICC Cricketer of the Year 2012 at the LG ICC Awards after an extraordinary 12 months for the batsman.
In 14 Tests, he compiled 1,444 runs at an average of 60.16, including five centuries and five half-centuries. In addition, he played 37 ODIs, hitting 1,457 runs at an average of 42.85, with three centuries and nine half-centuries. In that time he has also proven himself to be the best ODI wicketkeeper in the window under observation with 42 dismissals.
The independent voting academy of 32 highly credentialed cricket experts put Sangakkara first, ahead of a formidable group of players that had been short-listed, including South Africa duo Hashim Amla and Vernon Philander as well as Australia's Michael Clarke.
Sangakkara follows in the footsteps of India's Rahul Dravid (2004); Andrew Flintoff ( England) and South Africa's Jacques Kallis (joint winners in 2005); Ricky Ponting of Australia (2006 and 2007), West Indies' Shivnarine Chanderpaul (2008), Mitchell Johnson of Australia (2009), India's Sachin Tendulkar (2010) and England batsman Jonathan Trott (2011) to take the top award.
Sangakkara accepted the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy from ICC President Alan Isaac at a glittering ceremony in Colombo and was clearly thrilled to win his second accolade of the night, having won the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year just moments before and the LG People's Choice Award earlier in the evening.
He said: "This is an amazing honour and I've seen the people who have won it before me and the nominees too, to be named alongside them is wonderful. I admire them greatly and even more so when I looked up at their records on the screen this evening. It's great to be amongst them but now to receive this honour this evening, is simply fantastic.
"I have to thank all who have supported me, especially my father who always guided me growing up and continues to do so, my wife and children, my team-mates and coaches."
Based on the period between Aug 4 2011 and Aug 6 2012, the LG ICC Awards 2012 take into account performances by players and officials in a remarkable period for the game.
For all the individual awards (with the exceptions of the Spirit of Cricket Award and the Umpire of the Year), a long-list compiled by the selection panel was forwarded to a 32-person Voting Academy made up of former players, respected members of the media, an elite umpire and an elite match referee. They voted on a three, two, one basis (with three being the highest value) and the winners emerged.
That period includes such high-profile events as the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2012 held in the UAE, the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier in Bangladesh in 2011, various rounds of the ICC Intercontinental Cup, as well as numerous Pepsi ICC World Cricket League and Championship fixtures, plus several bilateral Test and ODI series.
The LG ICC Awards ceremony is now in its ninth year and this year it will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Previous ceremonies were held in London (2004 and 2011), Sydney (2005), Mumbai (2006), Johannesburg (2007 and 2009), Dubai (2008) and Bengaluru (2010).