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    Sangakkara walks away with top honours

    Colombo: Former Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara walked away with three awards at the ICC Awards ceremony 2012. He bagged the LG People's Choice Award, ICC Test Cricketer of the Year Award and the ICC Cricketer of the Year Award.

    Sangakkara won the LG People's Choice, which was introduced in 2010, for the second year in a row. This award is chosen by cricket fans around the world who vote for their favourite player. Other contenders for the award this year were Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis, James Anderson and Vernon Philander.

    For the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year Award, Hashim Amla, Vernon Philander and Australia captain Michael Clarke were Sangakkara's competitors but he pipped them to the post. During the performance period, 4 August 2011 and 6 August 2012, he played 14 Tests and in 27 innings and rattled up 1,444 runs at an average of 60.16, including five centuries and five half-centuries. His highest score of 211 came against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in October 2011, while he also scored 199 not out against the same side on home soil in Galle.

    The 34-year-old southpaw also swept the top honour by winning the most coveted the ICC Cricketer of the Year Award. Other nominees for the award were Amla, Philander and Clarke. In 14 Tests, he ran up 1,444 runs at an average of 60.16, including five centuries and five half-centuries. In addition, he played 37 ODIs, cracking 1,457 runs at an average of 42.85, with three centuries and nine half-centuries. During the period, he also made a mark as a wicketkeeper and proved himself to be the best ODI wicketkeeper in the window under observation with 42 dismissals.

    Sangakkara has joined the league of India's Rahul Dravid (2004); Andrew Flintoff ( England) and South Africa's Jacques Kallis (joint winners in 2005); Ricky Ponting of Australia (2006 and 2007), West Indies' Shivnarine Chanderpaul (2008), Mitchell Johnson of Australia (2009), India's Sachin Tendulkar (2010) and England batsman Jonathan Trott (2011) who are the previous winners of the ICC Cricketer of the Year Award.

    Sangakkara accepted the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy from ICC President Alan Isaac at a sparkling ceremony in Colombo. He said: "This is an amazing honour and I've seen the people who have won it before me and the nominees too, to be named alongside them is wonderful. I admire them greatly and even more so when I looked up at their records on the screen this evening. It's great to be amongst them but now to receive this honour this evening, is simply fantastic. I have to thank all who have supported me, especially my father who always guided me growing up and continues to do so, my wife and children, my team-mates and coaches."