Nepalese Aasif Sheikh is the winner of CMJ Spirit of Cricket Award 2022
MCC is pleased to announce that Nepal’s Asif Sheikh is the recipient of the 2022 Christopher Martin-Jenkins Spirit of Cricket Award.
Wicket-keeper batsman Aasif has been recognized with this award, presented by the club in association with the BBC, for his sporting conduct during a Men’s T20 International between Nepal and Ireland in February 2022.
During the match in Al-Almerat, part of the Oman Quadrangular T20I Series, Aasif refused to eliminate the Irishman Andy McBrine, who was accidentally upended by bowler Kamal Airee as he attempted to score in the Irishman’s 19th over innings.
Kamal bowled to Mark Adair, fielded his own bowl and Aasif received the delivery cleanly, but chose not to remove the bail and run out McBrine, despite having enough time to do so until the batter would make his ground to the end of rush hour. . The move was backed by Nepalese captain Sandeep Lamichhane at the time, who immediately shook hands with McBrine in the aftermath.
Andrew Leonard’s video clip of the incident has been viewed more than 1.4 million times on YouTube (below) and shared widely on social media, receiving millions of views worldwide in the days following the match.
The CMJ Spirit of Cricket Award was created in 2013 by MCC and the BBC in memory of former MCC President and BBC Test Match Special commentator Christopher Martin-Jenkins (“CMJ”), who was passionate about promoting the spirit of the game. For the first time in its history, MCC and BBC invited public nominations for the award in December 2022 and Aasif Sheikh’s performance for Nepal was deemed the winning entry.
“Regardless of the result, we always strive to play fair, respect everyone on and off the pitch and give it our all.”
Aasif Sheikh said of the award: “This feels surreal. The CMJ Spirit of Cricket Award is an honor and to receive it I am just grateful.
“My parents raised me to be humble and kind in all circumstances, my coaches taught me what real team play is, and my teammates who continue to encourage me to do my best are also part of this success.
“Regardless of the result, we always strive to play fair, respect everyone on and off the pitch and give it our all.
“The moment itself was a spontaneous decision on my/our part not to take the wicket as it would have been unfair to the opponent. We would not be happy if our team had taken the wicket that way as it would be against our culture and the spirit of sportsmanship.
“They say cricket is a gentlemen’s game and I believe the Spirit of Cricket Award really means that. Thank you MCC.”
MCC and BBC also gave high praise to two other individuals nominated in the process. England white ball captain As Butler declined to appeal for obstructing the field when Australia’s Matthew Wade overdid a delivery by Mark Wood with the striker blocking the bowler’s attempt to make the catch in the inter-team men’s T20I in Perth in October 2022 .
Ben Stokes has also been commended for captaining the England Men’s Test team, playing attacking and entertaining cricket. The fact that Stokes donated his match money from the Pakistan series to the nation’s flood call and ensured that young newcomer Rehan Ahmed featured prominently in the trophy presentation were two of the reasons he was nominated.
Jamie Cox, Director of Cricket and Operations, said: “We were thrilled to open this important award to public nominations in 2022 and it came as no surprise that Aasif Sheikh’s act of selflessness was one of the entries.
“For a young player, and captain indeed, to show an act of sportsmanship like this in a form of cricket where every run can make a difference is exactly why we talk about the spirit of the game, and this award is absolutely deserved..
“Christopher believed that of course you play to win, but it’s just as important that you play the game the right way.”
Jonathan Agnew, BBC Cricket Correspondent, said: “Our much missed colleague CMJ would definitely have approved of Aasif Sheikh’s actions. Christopher believed that of course you play to win, but it’s just as important that you play the game right.
“It is also good to see the two captains of the England men’s teams Jos and Ben being praised as they set a brilliant example for young cricketers”
Aasif Sheikh will officially receive the CMJ Spirit of Cricket Award later this year. He also received the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award for his actions in January this year.
The previous winners of the award since its inception in 2013 are as follows:
2013 Wayne Madsen (Derbyshire)
2014 Luke Wright (Sussex)
2015 Brendon McCullum (New Zealand)
2016 Tom Fell (Worcestershire)
2017 Anya Shrubsole (England)
2018 Dan Bowser and Chris Edwards (England Learning Disability Team)
2019 New Zealand men’s team
2020 Cricket West Indies
2021 No prize awarded
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