Colombo, Sept 15 (ANI): South Africa batsman Richard Levi has won the ICC Twenty20 International Performance of the Year in recognition of his 51-ball 117 not out against New Zealand.
This is the fifth year the award has been given to recognise the most impressive performance by a player in Twenty20 Internationals during the 12-month voting period and it continues to mark the advent of this exciting format of the game at international level.
On 19 February 2012, during the Proteas’ Twenty20 International match against New Zealand in Hamilton, Levi on his debut tour for South Africa smashed his way to 117 not out with a swashbuckling innings that included five fours and 13 sixes. Levi took just 45 balls to reach his century, making him the current record holder for the fastest century in T20I cricket, ahead of former holder Chris Gayle who managed the feat in 50 balls.
According the LG ICC Awards’ 32-person voting academy Levi’s effort was the most impressive of the voting period from 4 August 2011 to 6 August 2012.
It beat completion from Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan for his 104 not out in 57 balls against Australia in Pallekele on 6 August 2011, Chris Gayle’s 85 not out in 52 balls against New Zealand in Lauderhill, USA on 30 June 2012 and Ajantha Mendis’ six wickets for 16 runs against Australia also in Pallekele but this time on 8 August 2011.
Upon collecting the award, the 24-year-old from Johannesburg said: “I don’t remember much of the innings but I regularly get reminded of it. When any sportsman performs well, with T20 cricket it either comes off or it doesn’t and for me it came off that day. I’m looking forward to playing Sri Lanka when the ICC World Twenty20 gets underway.”
” I really appreciate some of the best cricketers from the past and top members of the media in the world have honoured me with this award and it’s very humbling to get it,” Levi added.
The Twenty20 International Performance of the Year was one of 11 individual honours handed out during the LG ICC Awards. The event, held at Waters Edge, Colombo recognises cricket’s star performers over a 12-month period. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)