Indian batting icon Sachin Tendulkar and Virendra Sehwag will be amongst the nominees for the 'ESPNcricinfo@20 Cricketer of the Generation' award, with the cricket news website on Monday announcing two more categories to its seventh annual awards. The two new special awards - Cricketer of the Generation and Contribution to Cricket will add to the six categories announced earlier. Besides Tendulkar and Sehwag, West Indian Brian Lara, Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka, Australia's Shane Warne and South African Jacques Kallis will also be in fray. A 50-member jury of current and former cricketers and leading sportswriters will pick the best.
The winner of the 'Contribution to Cricket' award will be nominated by former Indian captain Rahul Dravid. This award will consider contributions from all over the cricket ecosystem, from groundsmen to pitch curators, umpires to grassroots organisers, or just about anyone who has made a positive impact on the game.
"The Contribution to Cricket award was conceived to reward values that are pivotal to the sport - hard work, commitment, selflessness, fair play, and a dedication to the game. These are attributes embodied by many people across many aspects of the sport who are rarely - if ever - given credit for the amount they contribute to this great game," said Dravid.
Speaking on these new categories, Sambit Bal, editor-in-chief, ESPNcricinfo, said: "The Cricketer of the Generation is a one-time award coinciding with the 20th anniversary of ESPNcricinfo, and with the Contribution to Cricket award, we aim to expand our horizon beyond the playing field."
Cricketers and industry leaders from around the world will attend the gala awards event on March 14 in Mumbai.