Mitchell Johnson wins the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the Year 2009

JOHANNESBURG, Sout Africa -- Australia’s Mitchell Johnson has become the sixth player to win the coveted Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy after being named as the 2009 ICC Cricketer of the Year at the LG ICC Awards ceremony in Johannesburg.

Johnson fought off stiff competition to take the award from fellow short-list nominees Gautam Gambhir and Mahendra Singh Dhoni of India as well as England captain Andrew Strauss.

Johnson follows in the footsteps of India’s Rahul Dravid (2004), Andrew Flintoff of England and South Africa’s Jacques Kallis (joint winners in 2005), Ricky Ponting of Australia (2006 and 2007) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (2008) to take the top award.

“I’m really blown away. I am just surprised to be up here. It has been a great 12 months for our side. We have lost some wonderful players in recent years and we have been rebuilding with some young guys in the team and we have played together well.

“I’m enjoying the game at the moment – that makes all the difference. The highlight for me was actually my first century in a Test match. I would be quite happy to wear the tag of all-rounder so I have been pleased with how my batting has come on. Also, winning in South Africa was a huge high for us.

“I’d like to thanks my team-mates, friends and family and my fiancée for putting up with the ups and downs over the last year or so.”

ICC President David Morgan congratulated Johnson on his victory: “Mitchell has worked extremely hard over the past year to be an integral part of Australia’s bowling line-up and his effective batting style has turned him into one of the top all-round cricketers. His statistics for the last 12 months show how worthy a winner of this title he is,” said Mr Morgan.

“I would like to extend my congratulations to Mitchell on winning the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy. He had some tough competition to overcome, the likes of Gautam, Mahendra and Andrew but no one can deny he has been a stand-out player over the past 12 months.”

During the voting period, the 27-year-old Queenslander played in 17 Test matches, taking 80 wickets, which was easily the highest number by any Test bowler in the voting period. His best match bowling figures were 11-159 against South Africa in Perth in December of last year and Johnson’s economy-rate over the whole period was a mere 3.12.

His batting skills shouldn’t be forgotten either for in the last year he has managed to score a total of 632 runs for Australia, including a century and three half-centuries, to register an average of 30.09.

Johnson also played 16 ODI matches in this time taking 28 wickets at an average of 24.25 and an economy rate of 5.06, his best haul being 4-34 against South Africa in April of this year. He is currently ranked third in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers and is 11th in the ODI rankings.

The Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy was one of eight individual prizes given at this year’s LG ICC Awards. Johnson also featured in the ICC Test Team of the Year as picked by the ICC selection panel.

The panel was chaired by West Indies legend Clive Lloyd and included former India captain Anil Kumble, former England wicketkeeper Bob Taylor, former Pakistan opener Mudassar Nazar and former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming. 

Based on the period between 13 August 2008 and 24 August 2009, the LG ICC Awards 2009 – presented in association with FICA – take into account performances by players and officials in a remarkable period for the game.

That period includes such high-profile events as the ICC World Twenty20 2009 in England, the ICC Women’s World Cup 2009 in Australia and the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2009 in South Africa, as well as several bilateral Test and ODI series.

The LG ICC Awards ceremony is now in its sixth year and this year is being held in Johannesburg to coincide with the ICC Champions Trophy 2009. Previous ceremonies were held in London (2004), Sydney (2005), Mumbai (2006), Johannesburg (2007) and Dubai (2008).