Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy – History and Most Winners

He was one of the best all-round cricketers that the game has ever seen, but did you know that there is an award named in his honour? Here’s a round up of the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy.

What is the Garfield Sobers Award?

The Sir Garfield Sobers Award is given annually to the ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year. A selection panel decided that the trophy should be named after Garry Sobers who was one of the greatest all-round players in the sport.

It’s been in place since 2004 and rewards the most outstanding contribution to cricket over the previous 12 months.

Sir Garry Sobers
Sir Garry Sobers

Short History of the Trophy

The first ever Sir Garfield Sobers award was confirmed in 2004 and the recipient was India’s Rahul Dravid. The ICC came up with the idea of introducing a global trophy and it was the task of a selection committee to decide on a name.

As one of the best all-round cricketers of all time, it seems fitting that West Indies’ Garry Sobers should be honoured. Clearly the panel of Michael Holding, Richie Benaud and Sunil Gavaskar agreed as they decided that Sobers’ name should be attached to the award.

The Sir Garfield Sobers trophy has been handed out on an annual basis ever since.

The trophy itself carries a spectacular design which features a cricket ball resting on a brass hand which is placed on a gold plated base. It was produced by the world renowned crystal manufacturers Swarovski and the ball is studded with over 4,200 crystal chantons.

It’s a stunning award, worthy of being held by the finest cricketer in the world over the previous 12 months.

How does the Selection Work?

There is a wide and varied selection committee in place to decide on the winner of the Sir Garfield Sobers trophy. In the initial stages from 2004, 50 individuals were responsible for deciding on its destiny while that number has since increased to 56.

The panel includes the current test captains from all of the official ICC test playing nations. Next are the members of the panel of elite umpires and referees and, together, the first two categories make up around half of the overall selection committee.

The remaining members of the selection panel are made up of leading former players and commentators. It’s a fluid set of personnel which can change regularly on an annual basis.

Each member of the panel has a single vote and, at the end of the process, the cricketer with the highest number of votes wins the Sir Garfield Sobers award. In the event of a tie, the trophy will be shared.

Who has Won the Most Sir Garfield Sobers Trophies?

Using figures from 2004 up to the 2022 award, there are currently three players who have won the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy twice. The three men in question are Ricky Ponting, Mitchell Johnson and Virat Kohli.

Of the many cricketers who have won the award once, a number are still playing the game. Could Steve Smith, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ben Stokes, Babar Azam or Shaheen Shah Afridi go on to match that milestone of two Garry Sobers Trophy wins before they retire?

Ravichandran Ashwin with Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy

Most Wins by Country

Both Australia and India have four Sir Garfield Sobers award winners in their international ranks.

For Australia, those winners are Ricky Ponting, Steve Smith, Michael Clarke and Mitchell Johnson. For India, the award winners are Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, R Ashwin and Virat Kohli.

Final Thoughts

I personally think it’s fitting that the great Garry Sobers is honoured in this way. He is among an exclusive list of cricketing knights and one of the best players to have ever graced the game.

The award is handed out for cricketing excellence over the previous 12 months and, when we look at the full set of winners, there are some exceptional players involved. The only real surprise for me is the fact that it took so long for such an award to be put in place.

Over 100 years of international cricket had been played before the ICC officially honoured their best player. Now that the trophy is here, it’s good to see the best cricketers being acknowledged in this way.