Exceptional performances by Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli make them the leading candidates for the 2013 ESPNCricinfo awards, nominations for which were announced on Thursday.
The annual ESPNCricinfo awards recognise the best performances in Tests and ODIs through the year and the Indian trio figured in both the Test batting performance of the year and ODI batting performance of the year nominations. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin made the grade in the Test bowling performance of the year, while Ravindra Jadeja was shortlisted for the ODI bowling performance of the year.
An independent jury will decide the winners in the four individual performance categories, while fan voting on ESPNcricinfo will determine the Best Debut of the Year award. The winners will be announced later this year at a gala event in Mumbai. Dhoni figured in the list of Test nominations for his herculean knock of 224 in the first Test against Australia in Chennai, while his unbeaten 139-run essay in the lost cause against the same opponent in the third one-dayer in Mohali also found a place in the ODI scheme of things.
Dhawan also got two nominations - 187 in his debut match against Australia in the third Test in Mohali and his 114 in the first match of the ICC Champions Trophy against South Africa in Cardiff. The nominations also included Kohli's 119 against South Africa in the first Test at Johannesburg and his superb unbeaten 52-ball 100 while chasing the target of 360 runs against Australia in the second one-dayer in Jaipur. Rohit Sharma's record-breaking 209, which included a world record 16 sixes, against Australia in the seventh ODI in Bangalore also found a mention in the ODI performance of the year.
Ashwin was nominated for his seven for 103 against Australia in the first Test in Chennai, while Jadeja's five for 36 against West Indies in the sixth match of the ICC Champions Trophy at The Oval saw him shortlisted in ODI's best.
Australia, England and South Africa players got three nominations each in the Test bowling category, while their players also led the batting list with two nominations each. The winners in four performance categories will be selected by a jury panel that includes Ian Chappell, Rahul Dravid, Martin Crowe, Mark Butcher, Sanjay Manjrekar, Daryll Cullinan, Ramiz Raja, Rusell Arnold, Mark Nicholas, and the senior editors and writers of ESPNcricinfo. The awards also feature the Statsguru Awards - more than 30 award categories based purely on statistical achievement from international matches in 2013.