Skipper Smith wins top awards

GRAEME Smith was named both SA Cricketer of the Year and Castle Test Cricketer of the Year at the 2009 SA Cricket Awards Gala Dinner in Johannesburg last night.

GRAEME Smith was named both SA Cricketer of the Year and Castle Test Cricketer of the Year at the 2009 SA Cricket Awards Gala Dinner in Johannesburg last night.

The other major winners were AB de Villiers (Standard Bank One-Day International Cricketer of the Year and SuperSport Fans' Cricketer of the Year) - and JP Duminy (Standard Bank International Pro20 Cricketer of the Year, SA Players' Player of the Year and KFC Taste the Action Performance winner).

The awards, hotly contested after a year of stunning achievements, saw Roelof van der Merwe named SA Newcomer of the Year, managing to beat off the challenges of Wayne Parnell and Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Indicative of the keen competition was the fact that there were no fewer than five finalist nominees for the main award - compared to the customary three.

The awards cover the period from the start of the tour of England up to the end of the home series against Australia and therefore did not include the recent ICC World Twenty20 held in England.

Smith had an outstanding year both as leader and player. He led the Proteas' Castle Test squad to away Test victories over both England and Australia. His guiding hand was very much in evidence as the Standard Bank squad dethroned Australia as the No 1 ODI combination in the world.

Although he failed to score a century in either of the key Australian ODI series, De Villiers had a wonderful year with the bat, averaging 63 in Australia (strike rate 87) and 60 at home (strike rate 95). He also confirmed his reputation as the best fielder in world cricket.

In the domestic category the three top awards went to Van der Merwe (MTN Domestic Championship Cricketer of the Year), Charl Langeveldt (Standard Bank Pro20 Cricketer of the Year) and Imraan Khan (SuperSport Series Cricketer of the Year). - Sapa

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