KAGISO RABADA and Dane van Niekerk were recognised in the company of the country’s cricketing elite when they were both named South African Cricketer of the Year in their respective categories at a glittering Cricket South Africa (CSA) awards function in Sandton on Saturday evening.
Rabada and Van Niekerk had both been previously named South African Men’s Cricketer of the Year and South African Women’s Cricketer of the Year respectively in 2016.
It was a six-star evening for Rabada who won no fewer than six awards and he has now done it both in 2016 and 2018. No other cricketer has ever won more than five awards.
The other nine men’s player players to have received CSA’s most prestigious men’s award are Jacques Kallis (2004 and 2011), Makhaya Ntini (2005 and 2006), Hashim Amla (2010 and 2013) and AB de Villiers (2014 and 2015) who have all won the award twice with the other previous winners being Shaun Pollock (2007), Dale Steyn (2008), Graeme Smith (2009), Vernon Philander (2012) and Quinton de Kock (2017).
In addition to the main award, Rabada was named Standard Bank Test Cricketer of the Year and Standard Bank ODI Cricketer of the Year, was honoured by his peers by being named SA Players’ Player of the Year and by the fans on being named SA Fans Player of the Year. He also won the award for the RAM Delivery of the Year when he dismissed David Warner in the third Sunfoil Test match between the Standard Bank Proteas and Australia at PPC Newlands in March this year.
It has been a remarkable year for Rabada who rose to the No. 1 ranking in the world in Test match cricket, cracking the 900-point barrier and is currently the leading wicket-taker in the 2018 calendar year with 38 dismissals at an average of 19.65. He is also ranked No. 7 in ODI cricket and was named in the ICC Test XI for the 2017 calendar year.
The only awards he did not win for which he was eligible were the Standard Bank T20 International Player of the Year award that went to AB de Villiers and the KFC Colonel’s Always Original Award that went to David Miller for his world record T20 International century against Bangladesh.
The International Newcomer of the Year award went to Aiden Markram who scored exactly 1 000 runs in his debut Test season at an average of 55.55 and also stood in as ODI captain at the tender age of 23.
Van Niekerk also had a stellar year that saw her ranked as the No. 2 all-rounder in women’s international cricket and the No. 9 ranked bowler. She achieved an historic milestone at the ICC Women’s World Cup when she returned the stunning figures of 4/0 against the West Indies and led the Momentum Proteas to their best ever performance at this tournament when they lost by the narrowest of margins in the semi-finals to eventual champions England.
The other top awards in the women’s category went to Laura Wolvaardt who did the double of SA Women’s Players Player of the Year and Momentum Women’s ODI Player of the Year while Chloe Tryon was named Momentum Women’s T20 International Player of the Year.
“Simply outstanding! What a year both Kagiso and Dane have had,” commented CSA Acting Chief Executive, Thabang Moroe. “They have both shown the maturity of seasoned campaigners with performances that have really counted when needed most, often blowing away the opposition in the process.
“It is encouraging that for the second time in a row our premier awards have gone to our young stars who are shining with distinction alongside our world-class senior players (Rabada is 23 and Van Niekerk 25).
“Both our Standard Bank Proteas and Momentum Women’s Proteas continue to challenge to be among the best in the world and I find it particularly encouraging that all our national teams have a truly non-racial make-up. I must particularly highlight the Proteas first ever home Test Series win over Australia and the way our women gripped the imagination of the country as they came so close to their first ever ICC Final.
“Our domestic cricket remains blessed with great talents and congratulations to all the winners in those categories as well.
“I warmly congratulate all our winners, both at international and domestic level, and I also wish to take this opportunity to acknowledge our umpires, grounds staff and scorers, too.”
The Multiply Titans were once again the biggest winners in the Professional Awards: Domestic category. Mark Boucher retained the title of Pitchvision Coach of the Year, while Tabraiz Shamsi did the limited overs double of RAM SLAM T20 Challenge Player of the Year and Momentum One-day Cup Cricketer of the Year. There were two awards for the Warriors with Simon Harmer being named Sunfoil Series Cricketer of the Year and Jon-Jon Smuts the SACA Most Valuable Player award. There were also two awards for the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras with Pieter Malan being named Domestic Players Player of the season and Kyle Verreynne Domestic Newcomer of the Year.
Shaun George was named CSA Umpire of the Year for the second year in a row and the CSA Umpires Umpire of the Year went to Adrian Holdstock. This was in addition to Marais Erasmus who received the David Shepherd Trophy as the ICC Umpire of the Year, also for the second year in a row.
The Africa Cup T20 Player of the tournament went to Sarel Erwee of KZN Inland while PPC Newlands-based Evan Flint retained he title of groundsman of the year.
A special tribute was paid to AB de Villiers who has announced his retirement from international cricket after more than a decade of service to the Standard Bank Proteas. “It was wonderful that AB could finish his international career with that historic home series win over Australia,” commented Mr. Moroe.