An Indian freelance photographer has won the 2016 Wisden–MCC Cricket Photograph of the Year competition for a colourful image of a boys’ cricket game in the Mughal gardens of Srinagar.
Saqib Majeed, a photojournalist of eight years, came across the scene on a visit to Nishat Bagh – one of the most famous Mughal gardens. Shooting from a vantage point of 35 feet up, Majeed was able to capture the entire game amongst the autumnal colours of the surrounding chinar trees.
Philip Brown’s image of Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan batting against England during the First Test in Chittagong was one of two equal runners-up.
Asanka Brendon Ratnayake was the other runner-up for his photograph of India captain Virat Kohli warming his hands near the flames as he took the field for a T20 International against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Kohli, who enjoyed a hugely successful year, featured more than any other player in the competition entries.
As winner, Majeed is awarded £2,000, while Brown and Ratnayake win £1,000. All three images appear at the beginning of the colour section of the 2017 edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.
The eight other shortlisted entrants, which include two photographs by amateurs, are awarded £250, while all 11 images form part of the ground floor displays in the new Warner Stand at Lord’s – making them available for visitors to view all year round.
Saqib’s picture was absolutely breath-taking, and a very worthy winner
The seventh year of the competition saw more than 450 entries from around the world, with photographers of all levels of experience capturing a huge variety of cricketing moments.
These ranged from Darren Sammy’s celebration after the West Indies won the ICC World T20 through to an impromptu game played by children among piles of drying rice near a mill in Bangladesh.
The shortlist, runners-up and eventual winner were chosen by a judging panel chaired by former Chief Sports Photographer of The Sunday Times, Chris Smith, and including world-renowned cricket photographer Patrick Eagar. The former art director of The Cricketer magazine, Nigel Davies, was also on the panel, along with music photographer Kevin Cummins.
Alison Mitchell (the SJA Sports Broadcaster of the Year for 2013) and multi-award-winning cricket photographer Adrian Murrell joined he panel for the first time.
Chris Smith said: "Saqib’s picture was absolutely breath-taking, and a very worthy winner. A fellow judge rightly observed that the image looked more like one of the paintings in the Pavilion than a digital photograph – which is testament to the quality of the winning image.
"The last few winners of this competition have been action shots, so it was nice to be able to select something from outside the professional game. As ever, the standard of entries was fantastic, and it was a pleasure to look through such a variety of wonderful images.
"I would like to thank everyone who entered the competition and congratulate all those who were shortlisted."
Adam Chadwick, MCC’s Curator of Collections, added: "This has been another very strong year for the Wisden–MCC Photograph of the Year competition, and I would like to thank the judges for their diligence in selecting such fantastic images for the shortlist.
"They will be displayed on the ground floor of the new Warner Stand and I’m sure will be enjoyed by all visitors to the ground, whether they’re here for a match, event or tour."
POTY Judge and legendary photographer Patrick Eagar selects his All Time Cricketing XI