Auckland, Apr 30: Skipper Kane Willamson was on Thursday named the men’s ODI Player of the Year at the annual New Zealand Cricket awards for his stellar performance throughout the year.
Ross Taylor and White Ferns skipper Sophie Devine took home the men’s and women’s T20 Player of the Year award respectively, while Suzie Bates was rewarded for her consistency with the bat as she claimed the women’s ODI player of the year.
The awards were presented online for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Williamson had a hugely successful year, both individually and with the New Zealand team, which he led to the World Cup final.
At the World Cup, the 29-year-old amassed 578 runs at an average of 82, including two centuries, which culminated in him being named player of the tournament.
“Kane was simply exceptional at the ICC Cricket World Cup last year,” New Zealand head coach, Gary Stead said.
“Kane fully deserved his selection. He builds great partnerships with our well-established middle order and when he bats deep in an ODI innings, we’ll invariably be in a good position to win most of those matches.
“He leads the team well, he has his own style and certainly the respect of his peers. His calm, purposeful demeanour flows through his leadership and, in turn, the team,” he added.
Veteran Blackcaps batsman Taylor scored 330 runs at a strike-rate of 130 to take home the honour in the shortest format of the game.
“A man of Ross’ international experience is very valuable in the fast and furious nature of T20 cricket,” Stead said.
“He has the ability to sum up batting conditions quickly and accurately in a variety of venues and countries. This is a skill which serves the team well and helps us adapt plans quickly in the shortest form of the game.”
In women’s cricket, Bates was named the ODI player of the year after making two half-centuries in three matches against South Africa – the team’s only games in the format in the past year.
Despite only having one ODI series against South Africa at home this summer, Bates showed her class scoring 142 runs at an average of 42.
“Suzie has been a world class performer for many years,” White Ferns head coach, Bob Carter said.
“She paces an ODI innings really well and has the ability to read fields and pre-empt what opposition captains are trying to do and how they are looking to contain or restrict her game.”
In women’s T20, Devine enjoyed an unprecedented year, scoring her maiden T20 century while also becoming the first player, male or female, to reach 50 in five, and then six, consecutive T20 Internationals.
“Sophie had an exceptional season with the bat in T20 cricket,” Carter said.
Devine scored 429 runs at an average of 71 and at a strike-rate of 132 employing a power game that rivals the best female players in the world.
“Our T20 side is at its best when Sophie is scoring runs at the top. She gives others around her the freedom to play their natural game.
“Sophie’s ability with the ball in T20 cricket goes under the radar at times. She will often step up and bowl the hard overs and uses changes of pace to her advantage. She is a top quality all-rounder and an exceptional T20 talent,” Carter said. (PTI)