Breaking Down the Winners from Cricket South Africa Awards
Cricket South Africa honoured its best players at a glitzy awards ceremony on Tuesday. Hashim Amla, he of the magnificent beard, became the third South African player to receive South Africa's Cricketer of the Year award twice.
Amla had previously won the award in 2010, and joined two other dual winners in Makhaya Ntini (2005 and 2006) and Jacques Kallis (2004 and 2011). Amla scooped four awards in total. If there was an award for the nicest guy in South African cricket, Amla would probably have won that, too.
There were 10 award categories in total. Here's a look at who won what.
SA Cricketer of the Year: Hashim Amla
With some stellar performances across all formats, Amla was the natural choice for the Cricketer of the Year award. South Africa's Mr. Reliable had a brilliant year in both Tests and one-day internationals. In Tests, he averaged 70.93 in 2012 and already averages 77.00 in 2013.
Test Cricketer of the Year: Hashim Amla
Most Proteas supporters will remember 2012 for that game at The Oval where South Africa racked up 637-2 declared. Amla became the first South African to score a triple century in that match and finished the first innings unbeaten on 311.
Those exploits alone would almost be enough to warrant the award, but with five 100s and six 50s between 2012 and now, Amla is head and shoulders above any other batsman in the Test side.
Both Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn were also nominated for the award, and one can imagine that it might have been a tough time for the judges.
ODI Cricketer of the Year: AB de Villiers
Taking over the gloves and captaincy clearly hasn't had much of an impact on AB de Villiers' form. In 2012, he played 13 matches and averaged 107.50 with a strike rate of 108.58. Two 100s and three 50s made him a good candidate for the gong.
2013 has been slightly more subdued, but De Villiers was up against Ryan McLaren and Amla for the award. He was arguably the better player between those three—or perhaps the judges didn't want to give Amla everything.
T20 International Cricketer of the Year: Dale Steyn
While Dale Steyn enjoyed a profitable World T20 in Sri Lanka, he played just one T20 match after that. Up against Henry Davids and Robin Peterson, one could argue that Steyn was more consistent in the matches he played.
Not to take anything away from the paceman's credentials, but it is somewhat worrying that the options for T20 Cricketer of the Year award were so limited for South Africa. Nonetheless, it's another notch in Steyn's belt as he continues his crusade to go down as one of the best bowlers in the history of the game.
SA Players’ Player of the Year: AB de Villiers
De Villiers picked up the award as the players' favourite player. Perhaps a little bit like voting for the head boy and girl in high school, it doesn't really matter. De Villiers has enjoyed a good run across all formats. While he still needs to work on his captaincy tactics a bit, there's nothing wrong with his efforts with the bat.
SA Fans’ Player of the Year: Hashim Amla
Who doesn't like Amla? The answer is no one. The fans have spoken and Amla is the winner. When a player is so approachable, so delightful and so incredibly talented, it's easy to see why fans like them so much.
Humble in all his dealings with both press and plebs, Amla always has time for everyone. He's happy to stop for autographs and photographs even after a long day at the office. A simple choice, really.
'So Good’ Award: Hashim Amla
This award was for an individual performance so enticing and unforgettable that it will go down in history as one of the best efforts ever. When thinking back over the last year, nothing stands out more than Amla's 311* at The Oval in England.
In case you've forgotten what it looked like, here is a link to a video highlights package.
Faf du Plessis and De Villiers' efforts in Australia also come to mind, but they weren't nominated. Being the first South African to score 300 is surely enough to warrant the gong.
Delivery of the Year: Jacques Kallis
Most South Africans enjoy beating Australia, so it's easy to see why Jacques Kallis bowling Ricky Ponting over (literally) won the award for delivery of the year.
On the first day in Adelaide last year, Kallis found some magic on a pitch which was rather unhelpful and sent Ponting stumbling.
Not bad for an old lad.
SA Newcomer of the Year: Kyle Abbott
Starting your Test career by taking nine wickets, when you weren't even really supposed to play, is pretty good going. Kyle Abbott did just that. When Kallis picked up an injury ahead of the third Test against Pakistan in Centurion, the Dolphins' player took his chance.
He was told just a day before he was meant to play that he'll be walking out in his Test match whites and he certainly made that count.
Women’s Cricketer of the Year: Marizanne Kapp
Marizanne Kapp is a feisty young woman and Cricket South Africa aren't shy of rewarding women for the hard work they put in. Although there is still a long, long way to go for Women's Cricket in the country, recognizing their talent at such ceremonies is a good start.
Kapp scored an unbeaten 100 earlier in the year—her maiden ton. An aggressive all-rounder, the 23-year-old has a long career ahead of her.