SYDNEY:Australian cricket team captain Steven Smith has won the top International Cricket Council (ICC) awards for 2014-15, being named Cricketer of the Year as well as Test Cricketer of the Year.Smith became the seventh player after Rahul Dravid (2004), Jacques Kallis (2005), Ricky Ponting (2006), Kumar Sangakkara (2012), Michael Clarke (2013) and Mitchell Johnson (2014) to bag both awards in the same year.Smith was thrilled to receive the awards, but said he would end 2015 with “mixed feelings”.“Given that there are so many great players around the world, I’m incredibly honoured to receive these awards,” he said. “While team success is always my number one motivation, awards like this are very special. I’m thrilled and very proud to receive them.“I will look back on 2015 with mixed feelings. Winning the ICC Cricket World Cup at home was a career highlight, and being appointed captain is a great honour, but the disappointment of losing the Ashes remains. “To be the best team that we can be, we have to become better at winning away from home, and that remains our motivation heading into 2016.”
South Africa’s ODI captain AB de Villiers was named ODI Cricketer of the Year for the second successive year, while his compatriot Faf du Plessis won the T20 Performance of the Year award for his 56-ball 119 against West Indies in January. Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood was named the Emerging Cricketer of the Year.The two awards in women’s cricket, for the ODI Cricketer of the Year and T20 Cricketer of the year, went to Australia captain Meg Lanning and West Indies allrounder Stafanie Taylor respectively.Former UAE captain Khurram Khan was named Associate and Affiliate Cricketer of the Year, while Richard Kettleborough got the Umpire of the Year award for the third straight year.New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who has announced he will retire from international cricket in February, bagged the Spirit of Cricket award, for inspiring his side to play the game in its true spirit. McCullum said his team-mates deserved as much recognition for buying into his sportsmanlike vision of cricket.
“The team has loved how the New Zealand public and cricket fans from around the world have responded to the way we’ve played our cricket in the last 12 months,” he said. “I think the Spirit of Cricket is hugely important and I feel extremely honoured to have received the award. It does take buy in from the entire team though and the rest of the Blackcaps squad needs to be recognised for this as well.”
The awards were given on performances during the voting period between September 18, 2014, and September 13, 2015. In that period, Smith was the leading run-getter in Tests, with 1734 runs at an average of 82.57. In that period he also made 1249 ODI runs at 59.47, his excellence across the two formats contributing to his winning the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for Cricketer of the Year.
De Villiers, the ODI winner, made 1265 runs in that format in the voting period, at an average of 79.06 and a just-as-astounding strike rate of 128.42. The 24-year-old Hazlewood, who made his Test debut in December 2014, took 40 Test wickets in the voting period.Lanning was the top Women’s ODI run-getter in the voting period, with 531 runs at 88.50, while Taylor finished on top of the Women’s T20I charts with 340 runs at an average of 42.50 and a strike rate of 105.91.