Dhoni receives ICC Shield for being No. 1 in ODIs
Cardiff: Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Monday received the ICC Shield for finishing as the No. 1 ODI team in the Championship table on the April 1, 2013 cut-off date.
In a simple ceremony at the Swalec Stadium here, former ICC president David Morgan presented Dhoni a silver salver and a cheque for USD 175,000.
The brief ceremony took place a few metres away from where the Indians were training ahead of tomorrow`s warm-up match against Australia here.
Cheered by a couple of players and members of the team management, Dhoni looked happy to receive the award from the former ICC boss.
India (119 points) still retain the top spot going into the Champions Trophy starting on June 6. Australia (116) and South Africa (113) are No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.
It was a "vision only" opportunity for the handful of media, covering India`s practice session on a sunny morning.
Dhoni was not allowed to speak but his reactions clearly reflected his mood at receiving the prestigious trophy going into the last Champions Trophy that brings the top eight nations in world cricket playing the 50-over format.
Dhoni happily posed for a small group of cameramen.
Considering the show that the ICC normally makes for such kinds of awards, this one was rather lacklustre. Dhoni was `off-limits` for the media as the recent happening in Indian cricket only made him difficult to get.
In a brief message to the media, Dhoni just said: "This one belongs to the team, not me alone," before walking off into the dressing room.
This is the first time since the current ranking system was introduced in 2002 that India have finished as the number-one ranked ODI side on April 1 cut-off date.
India had claimed the number-one spot from England after winning the series 3-2 in January, and, in the 12-month period between April 1, 2012 and April 1, 2013, they won eight out of 13 ODIs while losing five ODIs.
Morgan said, "This ODI Shield is recognition of excellence. This is the first time that India has been the top ODI side at the 1 April cut-off date. I want to congratulate India for its dedication and for the ability to entertain us all. I wish the team all the best for the coming year.
"The importance of the Reliance ICC ODI Shield should be celebrated as this is the ICC Cricket World Cup format. To finish as the number-one ranked ODI side in addition to being the defending champion of ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011, is a wonderful achievement," he said.
"India will no doubt, therefore, enter the ICC Champions Trophy as one of the sides to watch out for. There could not have been a better fillip for India as it heads into the tournament featuring the eight best ODI sides. I’m sure that Mahendra and his team will be looking forward to maintaining their rank at the top of this format."