Kumar Sangakkara Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Sri Lanka’s legendary batsman Kumar Sangakkara will join the list of great cricketers that have presented the Shyam Bhatia Awards for cricket excellence in the UAE when the ceremony for the 19th edition of the event takes place on March 10.

Speaking to Gulf News, Bhatia, who for the last 19 years has honoured the outstanding performers in the UAE cricket in various categories by inviting the legends from the game, said: “It has always been my endeavour to have this annual awards presented by a great cricketer so that it can inspire many more cricketers to work hard and try to receive this award from a player who has proved to be a great cricketer. So for the 19th edition of this award, I felt Sangakkara is the right person due to his immense contribution to world cricket. We are happy that he has accepted our invitation. Matar Al Tayer, vice-chairman of Dubai Sports Council, and Sangakkara will be the guests of honour of this award ceremony.”

Cricketers from every council have strived hard to pick up an honour on the night, and the awards have also inspired umpires to be at their best during the season.

“I am happy that Sangakkara too will join the list of Sunil Gavaskar, Wasim Akram, Vivian Richards and Anil Kumble who have all presented this award,” said Bhatia. Other names include Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, and Clive Lloyd.

The award categories include best school cricketer and outstanding women’s cricketer, plus best batsman and best bowler in A and B division tournaments.

Details of the 19th Shyam Bhatia Awards were announced during a press conference held at the Shyam Bhatia Cricket Museum on Sunday evening in the presence of Amin Farooq, general secretary of Dubai Cricket Council, and Shiva Pagarani, committee member of DCC.

“I’m very proud that Dubai Cricket Council has been conducting these awards very successfully with me over the years,” said Bhatia.