Seasoned India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was on Tuesday (December 28) shortlisted as one of the four nominees for the ICC Test Cricketer of the year award. The 35-year-old from Chennai snapped 52 wickets from eight Tests at an average of 16.23 and also contributed 337 runs with the bat at 28.08 with one century in the last one year.
Besides Ashwin, England skipper Joe Root, New Zealand pacer Kyle Jamieson and Sri Lanka opener Dimuth Karunaratne were the others to be nominated for the prestigious award, which recognise the outstanding achievements and feats in cricket over the past year.
The winner of the award will be announced on January 24. "One of India's greatest match-winners in the longest format, R Ashwin again asserted his authority as one of the world's finest spinners in 2021. Apart from his wizardry with the ball, Ashwin also made invaluable contributions with the bat," the ICC said in a release.
Ashwin started the year on a high, scoring a patient 128-ball 29 against Australia in the Sydney Test. His partnership with Hanuma Vihari helped India achieve a memorable draw that kept the series level at 1-1.
At home against England, Ashwin was adjudged the Player of the Series after he claimed 32 wickets from four matches at 14.72, while also contributing 189 runs with the bat. The off-spinner had also picked up four wickets in the ICC World Test Championship Final against New Zealand on a seam-friendly wicket in Southampton.
After sitting out of all four Tests in England, Ashwin shone bright in the home series against New Zealand, winning another Player of the Series award after picking up 14 wickets in two matches at 11.36 while also chipping in with a couple of handy knocks in the Kanpur Test.
The ICC Awards will comprise a total of 13 individual recognitions in all, as well as five Team of the Year announcements for each format across both men's and women's cricket.
The other individual categories include Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for men's Cricketer of the Year, Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for Women's Cricketer of the Year, men's ODI Cricketer of the Year, women's ODI Cricketer of the Year, men's T20I Cricketer of the Year, women's T20I Cricketer of the Year, Emerging men's Cricketer of the Year, Emerging women's Cricketer of the Year, Men's Associate Cricketer of the Year, women's Associate Cricketer of the Year, Spirit of Cricket Award and Umpire of the Year.
"The nominees for each of the first seven categories will be announced from 28 December to 31 December," ICC said.
"Each of those seven categories will have a shortlist of four nominees, comprising players who have had the most impactful performances in the period under consideration -- January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021.
"The nominees will be decided by the Awards panel, comprising prominent cricket journalists and broadcasters from across the globe along with Geoff Allardice, the ICC's CEO."
The apex body said that "the winners for each category will be announced in January", while "the official ICC Teams of the Year are set to be announced on 17 and 18 January."
"The individual awards pertaining to women's cricket will be announced on 23 January. The men's awards, as well as the Spirit of Cricket and Umpire of the Year award, will be announced on 24 January," it further stated.