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By Sohail Ali

LAHORE, Dec 28 (APP): Pakistan Cricket Board on Monday announced details of the PCB Awards 2020, which will be a recognition and appreciation of the players and match officials for their achievements, as well as their contributions and sacrifices, during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

After the world almost came to a standstill following the outbreak of the disease, the PCB was probably the only cricket board that announced a complete season on 4 September and, since 30 September, has successfully delivered 186 matches out of 259 (nearly 71 per cent) to date.

The remaining 73 matches of the 2020-21 season, comprising the five-day Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final, five matches against South Africa, 33 matches in the Pakistan Cup One-Day Tournament and 34 matches in the HBL Pakistan Super League 2021 will be played in the first quarter of 2021.

Apart from domestic cricket, Pakistan men’s national team toured England in the summer, played Zimbabwe at home and, along with Pakistan Shaheens, is presently touring New Zealand.

All cricket in Pakistan was planned, executed and played under strict Covid-19 protocols. This meant Pakistan’s leading cricketers, player support personnel and match officials spent a large chunk of the year under tight restrictions, away from their families and friends.

For the purposes of the 2020 Awards, the PCB has identified a total of 11 categories, including eight player categories, for which the winners will be presented specially designed trophies during the home series against South Africa.

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The eight individual categories are:

•Emerging Men’s and Women’s Cricketers of the Year
•Women’s Cricketer of the Year
•Domestic Men’s Cricketer of the Year
•Individual Performance of the Year
•White-ball Cricketer of the Year
•Test Cricketer of the Year
•Most Valuable Cricketer of the Year

In addition to the eight individual prizes, there will be Spirit of Cricket, Umpire of the Year and Best Corporate Achievement of the Year awards.

As per the process, an independent jury comprising highly respected and distinguished cricket personalities will discuss performances in 10 of the 11 categories during the 2020 calendar year (1 January to 31 December) and select a winner in each category through a virtual meeting.

The Umpire of the Year will be selected by the First XI head coaches and captains.

The winners will be announced on 1 January 2021 on the PCB digital platforms.

In the 2020 calendar year, Pakistan men’s national team played five Tests, three ODIs and 12 T20Is, while the Pakistan women’s national side featured in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Australia 2020.

The domestic events held during the period included HBL Pakistan Super League 2020, National T20 Cup, Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, PCB U19 One-day and Three-Day Tournaments and two National Triangular T20 Women’s Cricket Championships.

PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani said : “This has been an incredibly difficult year for everyone, but I am delighted we not only went ahead with our domestic cricket schedule but delivered it successfully.

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“It is appropriate that this achievement be celebrated through the annual awards, which are designed to acknowledge and recognize outstanding individual performers during this challenging year.

“Players are our most important stakeholders and they are truly worthy of this acknowledgement as they have endured extremely challenging Covid-19 protocols to not only keep the sport going, but also to provide fans and followers entertainment during some very depressing times.

“The PCB Awards 2020 is a small way to show our gratitude to all the cricketers, player support personnel and match officials for their sacrifices that has allowed the game to continue to be played in these challenging times and grow stronger.

The PCB recognises this was not only hard on the participants, but also on their families.
We thank them for putting the interest of the game first.

“I am sure the PCB Awards will provide added incentive to the cricketers in 2021, knowing that their achievements will be recognised.

“This is also success for the entire PCB, which got behind the season and, collectively as one team, delivered one of the busiest, painstaking and complex cricket seasons with immaculate logistical and operational planning and delivery.

The PCB aspires to be one of the high-performing organizations and performances like these will certainly help us to continue to head in that direction.”