Nepal wicketkeeper-batter Aasif Sheikh on Thursday won the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award for 2022 for his decision not to run out Andy McBrine after the Irish star tripped while attempting a run.
With this, Aasif became the first player from Nepal to win the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award. The ICC Spirit of Cricket Award is annually awarded by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to recognise the player or team upholding the spirit of the game.
"It's an honour for me to receive this award, as my coaches always taught me to be humble and play within the Spirit of Cricket. Talking about the moment, it was a spontaneous decision on our part not to take the wicket as it would have been unfair to the batter.
We wouldn't have been pleased with a wicket in those circumstances as it would have been against our culture, and the Spirit of the sport," said Aasif on receiving the award.
The incident which got him the award happened during the sixth match of the Quadrangular series between Nepal and Ireland in Oman on February 14, 2022. Ireland were put in to bat first but Nepal had the scoring rate on a leash by picking up regular wickets.
At 113/8 at the end of 18 overs, they needed a late flourish with the bat to post a fighting total on the scoreboard. Kamal Singh Airee was tasked with bowling the 19th over. Off the third ball, Mark Adair went for a big heave over leg-side but the ball hit his leg and dropped towards the leg side.
The bowler, in his attempt to retrieve the ball, collided with non-striker Andy McBrine, as a result of which the Irish batter tripped and fell halfway on the pitch. Airee quickly got to the ball and threw it to Aasif, at which point McBrine got back up but was well short of his crease.
However, Aasif decided not to whip the bails off and let the batters complete a run, a gesture that received widespread recognition across the cricketing fraternity. Ireland ended up posting 127 and Nepal fell 17 runs short as they were bowled out for 111.
This spirit of cricket is described in the preamble to the laws of cricket: "Cricket is a game that owes much of its unique appeal to the fact that it should be played not only within its laws but also within the spirit of the game.
Any action which is seen to abuse this spirit causes injury to the game itself." The preamble goes on to say: "The spirit of the game involves respect for: Your opponents, your own captain and team, the role of the umpires, and the game's traditional values."