Quinton de Kock and Laura Wolvaardt were named South Africa’s Men’s and Women’s Cricketer of the Year respectively at CSA’s annual awards ceremony, held virtually on Saturday night. Both players also scooped up two other awards, with de Kock winning Test cricketer of the year and men’s players’ player of the year and Wolvaardt winning ODI cricketer of the year and women’s player’s player of the year.
Lungi Ngidi took both men’s white-ball awards after being named ODI and T20 player of the year. Shabnim Ismail was named women’s T20 player of the year while David Miller was voted the fans’ favourite player. Anrich Nortje was recognised as the newcomer of the 2019-20 season, which was the worst for the South African men’s team since readmission.
A disastrous World Cup campaign, Test series defeats away to India and at home to England and only one white-ball series win from the four played at home made this a difficult year for South African cricket to celebrate for everyone but de Kock. He stood head and shoulders above the rest, as their second-highest run-scorer across the seven Tests (behind Dean Elgar), their highest run-scorer in the ODIs and T20Is against England, and the T20I series against Australia, and their new white-ball captain. For all his efforts with the bat, de Kock did not star in the ODI series against Australia, which South Africa swept 3-0, but he did captain them to their only trophy of the summer.
“Quinny is the leading wicketkeeper-batsman in Test cricket and is, in fact, one of the leading batsmen in both red ball and white-ball cricket. He is also starting to emerge as an outstanding leader,” CSA Acting CEO, Dr Jacques Faul, said.
This was the second time de Kock has won the biggest prize in the country’s game, after also being named cricketer of the year in 2017. He joins Jacques Kallis, Makhaya Ntini, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Kagiso Rabada on the list of players who have won the award twice.
The other notable performers in the men’s game were bowlers and of those, Ngidi and Nortje made the biggest impacts. After missing the season’s home Tests with a hamstring injury, Ngidi returned to lead the white-ball wicket-takers’ list in both formats. Nortje made his Test debut in India and was the most successful bowler in the Test series against England, from both sides. He also featured in South Africa’s white-ball teams, and worked well with Ngidi, providing another attacking option.
The women’s team fared much better than the men’s, having secured automatic qualification to next year’s 50-over World Cup by beating New Zealand away from home and in reaching the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup. Wolvaardt became the youngest player to win the women’s cricketer of the year award, at 21-years-and-two-months old. She was South Africa’s second-highest run-scorer in ODIs against India and New Zealand and showed her ability to significantly up her strike-rate at the T20 World Cup, where she was one of the stand-out performers. So too was Ismail, who took the T20 prize. Left-arm spinner Nonkululeko Mlaba, who also featured at the tournament, was named women’s newcomer of the year.
“Laura was named in the tournament select XI at the conclusion of the ICC Women’s World T20 which tells us a great deal about the esteem in which she is held at international level,” Faul said. “At the age of 21 her best years are ahead of her and she will be a key player when the team go to the Women’s World Cup next year.”
At domestic level, Cape Cobras’ left-arm spinner George Linde, who also made his Test debut, in India, was awarded the four-day cricketer of the year title. Linde was second on the wicket-takers’ list and also voted the franchise system’s Most Valuable Player. Dolphins’ batsman Grant Roelofsen, who led the one-day cup run charts, was named one-day player of the year and was also the domestic players’ player of the year while Tabraiz Shamsi, who bowled the Paarl Rocks to the Mzansi Super League (MSL) title, was named the tournament’s impact player. Janneman Malan, the highest local run-scorer at the MSL, was the competition’s noteworthy young player of the year.