Ricky Ponting’s wonderful season for the Tasmanian Tigers has been recognised with the former Australian captain named Bupa Sheffield Shield Player of the Year at Cricket Australia’s annual State Cricket Awards in Hobart today.
The Benaud Spirit of Cricket Awards and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) All*Star Teams for the Four-Day, One-Day and Twenty20 interstate competitions were also announced at the event.
Ponting polled 18 votes to finish ahead of West End Redback swing bowler Chadd Sayers (16). XXXX GOLD Queensland Bulls batsman Usman Khawaja and emerging NSW Speedblitz Blues fast bowler Gurinder Sandhu tied for third place with 12 votes each.
Ponting’s brilliant form with the bat, at an average of 87.5, catapulted his team into top spot on the Bupa Sheffield Shield ladder and hosting honours for the Shield final, starting this Friday.
The annual State Cricket Awards are held in the lead-up to the Bupa Sheffield Shield final, this year to be contested between the Tasmanian Tigers and the XXXX GOLD Queensland Bulls at Blundstone Arena on Friday.
Commonwealth Bank Victorian Bushranger Aaron Finch’s astronomical average of 84 at a run-a-ball in the domestic limited-overs format this season saw him take home the RYOBI One-Day Cup Player of the Year Award. Finch finished on 15 votes, one ahead of West End Redback Kane Richardson (14).
In women’s cricket, the WNCL Player of the Year award was jointly shared by Commonwealth Bank VicSpirit’s Meg Lanning and Western Fury’s Nicole Bolton, while fellow Western Fury teammate Jenny Wallace took home the WT20 Player of the Year award.
It was a tight contest for the WNCL Player award with dominant performances from VicSpirit’s opening batter Lanning (one century at an average of 65.66) and Western Fury captain Bolton (two centuries at an average of 55.00) both polling 17 votes, edging out Lend Lease Breaker Alex Blackwell (16).
WA wicketkeeper Wallace’s consistent WT20 season was rewarded, finishing on 27 votes, ahead of Lend Lease Breaker teammates Alex Blackwell (26) and Alyssa Healy (24).
Rounding out the individual award winners were ACT Comets fast-bowler Nick Winter (Toyota Futures League Player of the Year), NSW’s Nathan Price (Lord’s Taverners Indigenous Cricketer of the Year), and Bruce Oxenford (Cricket Australia Umpire Award, in recognition of his promotion to the ICC Emirates Elite Panel in November last year).
Meanwhile, the Tasmanian Tigers were awarded the Benaud Men’s Spirit of Cricket Award, while Lend Lease Breakers took home the Benaud Women’s Spirit of Cricket Award after they became the first side to win both the WNCL and WT20 titles in the same season this year.
The Benaud Spirit of Cricket Awards are decided by umpire votes and recognise State cricket teams which have best played in the spirit of the game in recognition that elite cricket should be played hard but fair.
A full rundown of today’s winners can be found attached.