Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga’s 5-56 against Pakistan in the final of the Asia Cup in February last year has been named as the best ODI bowling performance in 2014 by ESPNcricinfo awards that also honoured the likes of Rangana Herath and Mitchell Johnson.
India batsman Rohit Sharma’s record breaking 264 against Sri Lanka has been named as the best ODI batting performance in 2014.
This is Rohit’s second award in the same category after the top-order batsman bagged the same prize for his first double ton in 2013.
The talented batsman achieved the feat at Eden Gardens to become the first cricketer to register two double hundreds in ODIs.
In the Test match category, Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson’s 7-68 against South Africa in the Centurion game won him the prize for best bowling effort.
New Zealand batsman Brendon McCullum’s 302 against India was adjudged the best batting performance.
McCullum played a captain’s knock in the second innings to save the second Test against the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side in Wellington.
Meanwhile, both performances in the shortest format came from the Word T20 competition as England batsman Alex Hales with his 116 not out against Sri Lanka and Rangana Herath’s 5-3 against New Zealand got the best batting and best bowling shows respectively.
Sri Lankan players have figured prominently across award categories in 2014, including the Statsguru Awards, which recognises consistency in performances. Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews swept three awards - Batsman of the Year, Best Test Batsman and Most Consistent Test Batsman. It was reward for aggregating more than 1200 runs each in Tests and ODIs. Herath was named the Best Test Bowler.
The winners were picked by an expert jury consisting of Rahul Dravid, Ian Chappell, Ricky Ponting, Ajit Agarkar, Russel Arnold, Martin Crowe, Michael Bevan, Mark Butcher, Aakash Chopra, Daryll Cullinan, Michael Holding, Mark Nicholas, Ramiz Raja and Graeme Smith. Also part of the jury were ESPNcricinfo’s senior writers.
Sambit Bal, editor-in-chief, ESPNcricinfo, said: “2014 has been an exciting year of cricket and we saw the emergence of some real champions. We want to reward champions who made a difference to cricket through their performances over the last 12 months. Selecting these winners was a daunting task, to say the least, for all the jury members, considering the immense talent that was on display.”