Sakib’s M-o-T award far from decided

Azad Majumder . London | Published: 00:00, Jul 14,2019


A file photo from June 24, 2019 shows Bangladesh all-rounder Sakib al Hasan celebrating the wicket of Afghanistan’s Najibullah Zadran with Mushfiqur Rahim during their ICC World Cup match in Southampton. — Reuters photo

The World Cup final was always expected to draw large viewership on screen in all top cricket playing countries and Bangladesh should not be an exception despite its own team finishing eighth.

But the fans of the country will probably keep their eyes more on the prize giving ceremony than the game itself due to the chance of one of their players getting a top prize.

Sakib al Hasan left the tournament before all other contenders for the Man of the Tournament award but that could not eliminate him from the race after a phenomenal performance in the league phase.

His 606 runs in eight innings and 11 wickets made Sakib a prime contender for the award though a few other candidates have had better success with their respective teams.

The International Cricket Council in the past used point-based system to select the best player for major events, which would give Sakib a better chance as he claimed man-of-the-match awards in all three Bangladesh wins.

Sakib dragged Bangladesh almost single-handedly throughout the tournament, which could earn him a few more points to give him an edge over other contenders such as India’s Rohit Sharma.

Rohit scored 648 runs with five hundreds and claimed four man-of-the-match awards but other Indian players like Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami also had their impact on the team.

An ICC spokesman confirmed on Saturday that instead of the point-based system they have decided to appoint a jury board to select the Man of the Tournament and Team of the Tournament in this World Cup.

The jury board, which would include three broadcasters, a journalist and an ICC representative, will have until the end of final to make their decision, said the spokesman.

It gives the likes of Kane Williamson, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Jofra Archer a better chance to win the prize as they still have one game left and a big impact in a game is always expected to get higher marks.

Williamson made 548 runs, most by any New Zealand batsman in a single World Cup, and also won three man-of-the-match awards like Sakib to remain as a strong contender for the award.

England’s Root already made 549 runs, also the highest ever for England in one World Cup, a record which he can always extend in the final.

England’s Archer has bowled more dot balls (338) than any other bowler and also got 19 wickets, behind only Mitchell Starc (27) and Mustafizur Rahman (20), which should not go unnoticed.

His impact in the semi-final was huge as England crushed Australia in a one-sided semi-final and a similar performance in the final could very well earn him the top-prize.

‘Normally man-of-the-tournament is decided after semi-final stage. But juries can wait until the final if they want to see how a potential does,’ said ICC spokesman Rajshekhar Rao.

And this puts Sakib behind others as he did not get a chance to play in the semi-final, let alone the final.

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