India's One-Day International (ODI) captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday named as the International Cricket Council's (ICC) ODI Player of the Year 2008, while his deputy Yuvraj Singh bagged the inaugural International Twenty20 Performer of the Year award.
The ODI Player of the Year Award was one of eight individual prizes given at this year's LG ICC Awards in Dubai on Wednesday.
India's flamboyant batsman Yuvraj Singh got the award in recognition of his amazing six sixes in one over during the ICC World Twenty20 2007 in South Africa.
Dhoni also featured on the ICC ODI Team of the Year as picked by the ICC selection panel. Australia captain and two-time ICC Cricketer of the Year Ricky Ponting announced the award.
Dhoni beat off tough competition from team-mate Sachin Tendulkar, Australia fast bowler Nathan Bracken and Pakistan stalwart Mohammad Yousuf to take the prestigious award.
During the voting period, Dhoni played 39 ODIs and scored 1,298 runs at an average of 49.92 and at a rate of 82.46 runs per 100 balls faced. In that time, he hit a century and nine fifties, leading his team from the front.
Also in that time, wicketkeeper Dhoni accounted for 62 dismissals (46 catches and 16 stumpings), which is almost twice as many as the next best, although he has played more matches than any other wicketkeeper.
He is currently ranked number one in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen.
Dhoni said: "I would like to thank the Voting Academy for considering me to be deserving of this award. I am really happy to get this -- it's a great privilege.
"Also, it feels great to know that I am the first Indian player to get this particular award and it's very special because now I am in the company of a lot of other good cricketers. Some fantastic players have won this award in the past and to be mentioned in their company is truly a humbling experience for me.
"I would like to thank the ICC, my home cricket board, my family, my team-mates and friends."
This new award received by Yuvraj highlights the most impressive performances by players in Twenty20 Internationals during the 12-month voting period and it marks the advent of this exciting new format of the game at international level.
On Sep 19 last year, during a match against England in Durbanon, Yuvraj smashed every delivery of the 19th over beyond the boundary rope, in the process registering a 12-ball half-century and putting his team on course to victory.
It was the first time a player had hit six sixes in a single Twenty20 International over. Herschelle Gibbs did it in an ODI during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 in the West Indies, while Garry Sobers became the first batsman to achieve the feat during a first-class match back in 1968.
According to the LG ICC Awards Voting Academy, Yuvraj's effort was the most impressive performance of the past 12 months. It beat off competition from his team-mate Dhoni, who led his team to victory at the ICC World Twenty20 2007 in South Africa; Chris Gayle of the West Indies, who scored 117 off just 57 balls against host team South Africa in the opening match of the same tournament in Johannesburg; and Australia's Brett Lee, who became the first bowler to take a hat-trick in the event against Bangladesh in Cape Town.
After collecting his award from ICC World Cup winning captain for Sri Lanka Arjuna Ranatunga, Yuvraj said: "For me it was very important just to get nominated. There were other great performances during the past year. For example Chris Gayle's innings in the World Twenty20 was fantastic. I am very happy to collect this award and I would like to congratulate the other players who were nominated alongside me.
"It's very important for any player to get his performance recognised. You play hard and you like to think people see that and get something out of it. I would like to thank the ICC for recognising the performances of the players - it's an important aspect of the year for us.
"After the fifth six in that over I remember having butterflies in my stomach and I knew that if I managed to hit it for six it would be very special. It was a great feeling when I saw the ball go over the boundary."
The Twenty20 International Performance of the Year Award was one of eight individual prizes given at this year's LG ICC Awards. Sri Lanka's new find Ajantha Mendis has won the Emerging Player of the Year award at the LG ICC Awards ceremony in Dubai.
The mystery tweaker has exploded on to the international scene and taken the world by storm with his mesmerising brand of spin bowling. In just three Tests, the 23-year-old has taken an amazing 26 wickets at an average of 18.38 sending shockwaves through the world of cricket.
And it wasn't just Tests. During the voting period, Mendis played eight ODIs for Sri Lanka 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-member Voting Academy, coming in ahead of England's up-and-coming Stuart Broad, South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel and the talented Ishant Sharma of India. Interestingly, all four players in this category's short-list were bowlers.
The Sri Lanka cricket team was named as the recipients of the Spirit of Cricket Award.
It is the second year in a row that Mahela Jayawardena's team has won this award, which is presented to the team which, in the opinion of the Emirates Elite Panels of ICC Umpires and Match Referees has best conducted itself on the field within the spirit of the game.
The award was presented to Jayawardena by Tim May, the former Australia off-spinner and currently the chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA).
England captain Charlotte Edwards has won the Women's Cricketer of the Year award at the LG ICC Awards ceremony in Dubai.
During the voting period Edwards played 18 ODIs for England scoring 492 runs at the top of the order at an average of 54.66. She also took 15 wickets at 19.03 with her more-than-useful leg-spin.
Australia's Simon Taufel was named Umpire of the Year for the fifth successive year. Taufel, 37, was voted to this award by the 10 full-member captains as well as the eight-member Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Referees.
Taufel said: "I'm delighted to win this award but I don't set this as a goal at the start of a season. My goals are to be selected for finals and for major championships like the Champions Trophy or World Twenty20. If Ricky and the boys slip up eventually I might get the chance to do a final.
The selection panel was chaired by West Indies legend Clive Lloyd and included former Australia captain Greg Chappell, recently retired South Africa all-rounder Shaun Pollock, former Sri Lanka opener Sidath Wettimuny and former Bangladesh batsman Athar Ali Khan.
For all the individual awards, with the exceptions of the Women's Cricketer of the Year and the Umpire of the Year, a long-list compiled by the selection panel was forwarded to the 25-member Voting Academy made up of former players, 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 through that process the winners emerged.