Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has won the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award for the year 2016. The 42-year-old was adjudged the winner for inspiring his side to play the game in its true spirit, at the same time lifting the Pakistan cricket team from number-four to number-one on the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings. Remarkably, this was achieved without playing any Test matches in his home country.
Misbah is the first Pakistan player to win the award with the previous winners being MS Dhoni (2011), Daniel Vettori (2012), Mahela Jayawardena (2013), Katherine Brunt (2014) and Brendon McCullum (2015). New Zealand also won this award in 2004, 2009 and 2010, England in 2005 and 2006, and Sri Lanka in 2007 and 2008.
Commenting on the news, Misbah said: “I feel honoured and humbled to have won the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award. To lift the Test mace earlier this year and now this in the twilight of my career, is a message for every athlete that age is not a barrier as long as the sportsperson maintains highest fitness levels and continues to perform up to international standards.
“As a team, we have focused on playing within the rich traditions of the sport with a positive mindset and approach so that we can entertain the spectators and fans, and at the same time, challenge the oppositions. I am glad that this has been noticed and recognised by the game’s governing body.”
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