Rachin Ravindra and Amelia Kerr win top honours at New Zealand Cricket Awards

Rachin Ravindra/ Credit: X/BLACKCAPS

Rachin Ravindra/ Credit: X/BLACKCAPS

Christchurch, March 13 (IANS): Rachin Ravindra and Amelia Kerr emerged as the winners of the top honours at the New Zealand Cricket Awards ceremony on Wednesday evening. Ravindra, 24, became the youngest player to win the Sir Richard Hadlee Medal, awarded to the best New Zealand men’s cricketer of the year.

It caps off a remarkable time for Ravindra, who won the Young Player of the Year award at high school in 2016. On the other hand, Amelia was honoured with the coveted Debbie Hockley Medal – awarded to New Zealand’s women cricketer of the year, for the second consecutive time.

Ravindra shone at the Men's ODI World Cup in India, finishing as the competition's fourth leading run-scorer with 578 runs at 64, scoring three centuries and two half-centuries, including an unbeaten 123 in the tournament opener against England in Ahmedabad.

Those performances were recognised in January, when he was named the recipient of the prestigious ICC Emerging Player of the Year award. The all-rounder continued his meteoric rise in the Test arena, registering New Zealand’s highest-ever maiden Test century with 240 during the first Test against South Africa at Bay Oval.

He went on to play a key role in New Zealand’s first ever Test series victory over South Africa. Ravindra also shone on the T20I stage, featuring in 14 of New Zealand’s 26 T20Is over the season and scoring a blistering 68 from 35 balls in the first T20I against Australia at Sky Stadium.

On the other hand, Amelia was also named the Women’s ODI and T20I Player of the Year and took the Super Smash Women’s Player of the Year. The leg-spinning allrounder was the side’s leading ODI run-scorer with 541 runs at an average of 67, notching her third and fourth centuries along the way.

She was also the team’s joint leading T20I wicket-taker and second highest T20I run scorer with 252 runs at an average of 42 and a strike-rate of 118. Her performances on the international front were recognised with selection in both the women’s ODI and T20I ICC Teams of the Year for 2023.

Amelia also led the way on the domestic front, captaining the Wellington Blaze to their fourth Super Smash title in six years, topping the run-scoring charts with 437 runs at an average of 72, and the wicket-taking charts with 20 wickets at 8 and an economy of 4.47.

She became the first player in the competition’s history to record back-to-back five-wicket bags, taking 5-10 against the Canterbury Magicians, the competition’s best bowling figures of all-time, followed by 5-13 against the Central Hinds.

Kane Williamson won the Test Player of the Year award, and the Redpath Cup for men’s first-class batting. In six Test matches of the judging period, Williamson amassed 619 runs at 56, including four centuries, and became just the fifth New Zealand player to score a century in both innings of a Test with 118 and 109 in the second Test against South Africa at Bay Oval.

Williamson continued his form in the following Test against South Africa at Seddon Park, becoming the fastest player ever to reach 32 Test centuries, and extending his record to seven centuries in seven consecutive Tests. He was also selected in the ICC’s Test Team of the Year.

Daryl Mitchell and Mitchell Santner took out the Men’s ODI and T20I Player of the Year awards, respectively. Mitchell was a key performer with the bat at the Men’s ODI World Cup in India, finishing as the tournament’s fifth leading run-scorer with 552 runs at an average of 69.

Mitchell notched two half centuries and two centuries in 11 innings, including a career-best 134 in the semi-final against India, his performances earning him selection in the ICC’s Team of the Tournament and the overall ICC ODI Team of the Year.

Santner was a key figure in the T20I side that recorded an away series win over UAE, a hard-fought away series draw with England, and a memorable 4-1 home series win over Pakistan, against whom he captained the side in three of the five matches. He capped off the summer by captaining the side in the T20I series against Australia and playing his 100th T20I match in the third match at Eden Park.

Matt Henry’s outstanding summer with the red ball was rewarded with the Winsor Cup for men’s first-class bowling. Henry was a key cog in New Zealand’s Test bowling unit, taking 23 wickets at 16 in four Tests, including 17 wickets at 15.70 in the two-Test series against Australia, for which he was named Player of the Series.

Having taken 5-70 in the first innings of the opening Test in Wellington, Henry saved his best for the second Test at his home ground Hagley Oval, claiming career-best figures of 7-67 and match figures of 9-161.

Suzie Bates won the Ruth Martin Cup for women’s domestic batting off the back of a steady season for the Otago Sparks, which saw her notch 530 runs across the Super Smash and the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield competitions.

She finished as the second-highest run-scorer in the women’s Super Smash with 398 runs, playing a key role in a successful summer for the Sparks as they finished runners up in the Super Smash, and won the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield for the second time in three seasons.

Bates’ Otago Sparks teammate Emma Black was awarded the women’s Domestic Player of the Year and the Phyl Blackler Cup for women’s domestic bowling. No player took more wickets across both women’s domestic competitions than Black, who snared 13 wickets in the Super Smash and topped the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield wicket-taking charts with 24 at 11.

Black’s performances were rewarded with selection in the women’s New Zealand A squad to face England A in three T20s and three 50-over matches starting in Queenstown on Saturday. Nathan Smith was awarded the men’s Domestic Player of the Year after memorable summer for the Wellington Firebirds.

Smith led the Firebirds bowling unit across all three formats and, at the time of judging, had claimed 52 wickets across the competitions, more than any other player on the men’s domestic circuit.

He led the Firebirds to a memorable Super Smash win over the Otago Volts in Alexandra, with career-best T20 figures of 4-5 and has so far accumulated 28 Plunket Shield wickets at an average of 15, including two five-wicket bags and career-best first-class figures of 6-36 against Canterbury in Rangiora.

Auckland Aces bowler Danru Ferns was awarded the Super Smash men’s Player of the Year after a consistent campaign with the ball that helped the Aces win their first Super Smash title since 2006.

Ferns topped the men’s Super Smash wicket-taking charts with 18 wickets at 14 with an economy rate of 7.53 and claimed career-best T20 figures of 3-26 against the Wellington Firebirds at Kennard’s Hire Community Oval.

Chris Brown was named as the G.J. Gardner Homes Umpire of the Year for the second year running after another memorable season, in which he became the first New Zealand umpire to stand in 50 T20 internationals and just the 11th umpire in history to reach the milestone.

The Bert Sutcliffe Medal for outstanding service to cricket was awarded to long-time administrator, Trudy Anderson. Responsible for cricket operations at Canterbury Cricket for 21 years, Trudy played important roles in the New Zealand section of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, the 2022 ICC Women’s World Cup, and at the 2010 and 2018 editions of the ICC Men’s U19 World Cups.

A two-Test and 26-ODI representative of New Zealand, Trudy helped the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment oversee sports teams staying at MIQ facilities during the Covid-19 pandemic, apart from being an NZC and ICC Match Referee.