Dubai: Legendary Sri Lanka skipper Arjuna Ranatunga presented the annual Shyam Bhatia awards to the UAE's top-performing cricketers at the Bhatia Cricket Museum on Wednesday night.
This 13th annual event, organised by the Dubai Cricket Council, was also attended by Emirates Cricket Board members and top ex-cricketers including India's Sunil Gavaskar, Pakistan's Mudassar Nazar and Dayle Hadlee of New Zealand. International Cricket Council chief executive Haroon Lorgat was also present.
Shaimon Anwar Butt of Yogi Group, who caused a sensation by scoring 1,343 runs in A division tournaments, walked away with the coveted best batsman award, while two William Harare Abu Dhabi Gymkhana players bagged the awards for best bowler and best all-rounder.
Asim Kurshid, who scored 477 runs and took 17 wickets, won the best all-rounder award, while Mohammad Rehan scooped the best bowler award for taking 24 wickets.
Speaking to Gulf News after receiving his award, Butt said: "I must have hit at least seven centuries during the 1,343 runs, but what mattered to me most is that all these knocks led my team Yogi Group to victories. It is a great honour to win UAE's best batsman award."
Varun Totadri, who through an elegant century guided G Force Cricket Academy to a second title triumph in the Cricket for Care Inter Academy tournament, received the best junior cricketer award along with his academy and Dubai Modern High school teammate Shorye Chopra, who claimed the award for the second successive year.
Meanwhile, Muaz Qazi won the best junior cricketer from Abu Dhabi award.
Speaking at the function, Ranatunga stressed the importance of rewarding budding cricketers.
He said: "I still remember the day I won my first junior cricketer award. Awards are always a big boost, and I appreciate Bhatia for encouraging youngsters through such events."
Gavaskar added: "Keep raising the bar, score more runs, take more wickets and, if you are a wicket-keeper, secure more dismissals.
"It is important to keep raising the bar to become a top player."
Indian awards host Shyam Bhatia, who gave cash totalling Dh26,000 to the winners in the different categories, said: "I am happy that I have managed to get a legend to give away the awards every year. Ranatunga this year made it the fourth World Cup-winning captain to present these awards."
Bhatia also included a new Lifetime Achievement award at the event, with UAE's most experienced umpire Tareq Butt becoming the first recipient. The best woman cricketer of the year award went to UAE's left-arm pacer Samiya Salim Sanghati.
In the B division, Nucaf Tellicherry's captain C.T.K. Mashood, who took 20 wickets, bagged the best bowler award, while his teammate Prajakat Chauhan, who scored 324 runs and took 11 wickets, took home the best all-rounder award.
Amjad Javed of Fly Emirates won the best batsman award for his 312 runs.
Finally, Mohammad Yousuf, Mohammad Illyas, Akbar Ali Khan and B.M. Abdullah emerged victorious in the best umpire awards for Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai and Sharjah respectively.