PMG and CEAT realized the need to outline a method of recognizing and rewarding the performances of international players. It was in 1995 when cricketing legends Clive Lloyd, Ian Chappell and Sunil Gavaskar came together to fulfill this long felt need in the international cricket arena. That's how CEAT INTERNATIONAL CRICKET RATING SYSTEM was born. The CEAT Cricket Ratings, now in its fourteenth year constitutes the only 'international' cricket rating system, which awards the 'topper' at the end of a cricketing year.
The CEAT Awards have come a long way since that memorable evening in Mumbai in 1996 when Brian Lara won the first CEAT International Cricketer of the Year for 1995-96. He finished with a tally of 74 points, a clear 13 points ahead of Australian Mark Waugh. Ian Healy came third with 56 points. Another keeper, Courtney Browne, shared the fourth spot with two others, Dominic Cork and Shane Warne (all with 55 pts).
The bowlers came to the fore the following year, when it seemed as if cricketers from India and Pakistan had taken inspiration from the golden jubilee celebrations of their independence. Venkatesh Prasad topped the Ratings for 1996-97 with 92 points, followed closely by Wasim Akram (87 pts), Anil Kumble (85 pts) and Saqlain Mushtaq (81 pts). Sachin Tendulkar (79 pts) was the lone specialist batsman in the top five. Pakistan topped the inaugural CEAT Team Rating with 92 points.
The batsmen and bowlers shared the limelight in 1997-98. The crown went to Jayasuriya with 122 points. Sachin (114 pts) and Azharuddin (99 pts) held the second and fourth spots respectively, and Muralitharan (107) and Shane Warne (91) secured the third and fifth rank respectively. The Team Rating was topped by Australia with 94 points. South Africa and Pakistan finished second and third respectively.
It was the year for the South African cricket team. It topped the Team and Player Rating. The team bagged 97 points and Jacques Kallis topped the Player Rating with 113 points. Glenn McGrath (98 pts), Shaun Pollock and Anil Kumble (87 pts both) came second, third and fourth respectively. The only specialist batsman to figure in the top five was Sachin Tendulkar who gathered 81 points.
The top five in 1999-00 featured two specialist batsmen, two specialist all-rounders and a wicketkeeper. Sourav Ganguly, the 'Prince of Kolkata', reigned supreme with a tally of 98 points. Sachin Tendulkar tied with Chris Cairns at 95 points for the second position. Adam Gilchrist and Jacques Kallis came fourth and fifth respectively. Australia, who won 10 consecutive Test matches and the World Cup in the CEAT Year, had no competition for the top spot. They bagged 154 points, a whopping 53 points ahead of the no. 2 South Africa.
A year of Sri Lankan dominance. Three Sri Lankan cricketers - Muttiah Muralitharan, Marvan Atapattu and Sanath Jayasuriya bagged the top three spots in the Rating. Murali topped the Rating with 111 points, which included a staggering 110 points for bowling alone. Atapattu and Jayasuriya came second and third with 95 and 93 points respectively. South Africa topped the Team Rating for the second time with a tally of 98 points followed by the Aussies. This was the fourth year is succession that both South Africa and Australia grabbed the top two spots in the CCR International Team of the Year.
Muralitharan excelled himself a year later by topping the 2001-02 Rating with 149 points, including 144 for bowling alone. Behind him in the Rating was Jacques Kallis with 108 points. Aussies Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist came third and fourth with 94 and 93 points respectively. At the fifth spot with 88 points was Sachin Tendulkar, who enjoys the unique distinction of figuring in the 'top five' in every CEAT Cricket Year with the exception of 1995-96. Australia topped the Team Rating for the third time with 112 points.
Brian Lara topped the CEAT Cricket Rating for 2003-04 with a tally of 149 points. Jacques Kallis finished first in the rating for 2004-05 with 102 points. A year later, Ricky Ponting became the fourth cricketer after these two stalwarts and Muttiah Muralitharan, to become the CCR International Cricketer of the Year for the second time.
The common factor in the last three CEAT Years was not surprisingly, Australia. The dominators of world cricket finished at the top of the CCR in 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06, with aggregates of 134, 132 and 161 points respectively.