Australia Captain Michael Clarke Named Cricketer of the Year

Australia cricket captain Michael Clarke was named as the world’s best player by the game’s governing body, while Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara earned the award for the best one-day player.

Clarke, 32, received the accolade from the International Cricket Council, according to an e-mailed statement, after topping a shortlist that included England’s Alastair Cook, India’s MS Dhoni and South Africa’s Hashim Amla.

“I was very surprised to be honest,” Clarke told the Cricket Australia website. “There’s so many guys playing so well around the world at the moment, I definitely didn’t expect to have won this award.”

The batsman, currently leading Australia’s bid to regain the Ashes trophy from England, also took the award for Test cricketer of the year. In the five-day format he scored 1,559 at an average of 71 during the performance period. His highest score was an unbeaten 259 against South Africa, the world’s top-ranked team.

It was Clarke’s first award for best player in any category, while Sangakkara, 36, won the one-day award in 2011 and was named best cricketer and best Test player last year.

Australia is 2-0 up in the five-match Ashes series. In the third Test that started in Perth today it ended the day on 326-6 after Clarke won the toss and decided to bat first.

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