Cape Town - South Africa's Marais Erasmus of the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires has won the David Shepherd Trophy for the ICC Umpire of the Year 2016, which was announced on Thursday on the ICC's website.
Erasmus was voted for by the Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees as well as the Test playing captains, and he saw off strong competition for the award from colleagues Richard Illingworth, Bruce Oxenford and Richard Kettleborough.
He is the first South African umpire to receive the David Shepherd Trophy.
Erasmus is the fifth umpire to win this prestigious award after Simon Taufel (2004 to 2008), Aleem Dar (2009-2011), Kumar Dharmasena (2012) and Richard Kettleborough (2013-2015).
Erasmus, 52, made his international debut in October 2007 in an ODI between Kenya and Canada at the Nairobi Gymkhana and was promoted to the elite panel in 2010.
Reacting to the news, Erasmus said: "David Shepherd has been one of the role models for many aspiring umpires and to win the trophy named after him is something to be really proud of. It has been an excellent period of international cricket and I consider myself extremely fortunate to be part of it.
"I thank the match referees and the Test captains for voting me as the ICC Umpire of the Year 2016, but the fact is without the support, help and encouragement of my Playing Control Teams, this would not have been possible. As such, it is appropriate that I win this on behalf of all my fellow match officials.
ICC General Manager, Geoff Allardice, congratulated Erasmus, saying: "The ICC is very fortunate to have such a strong team of umpires, and Marais has been deservedly rewarded for the steady improvement in his umpiring over the past few years. This recognition, voted by the match referees and the Test captains, shows the high regard in which Marais is held by those closely involved with the game."
Meanwhile, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has won the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award.