Graeme Smith named SA 'Cricketer of the Year'
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Player:GC Smith, RE van der Merwe, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy

DateLine: 1st July 2009


South Africa skipper Graeme Smith's brilliant captaincy and supreme batting this season fetched him cricket's most coveted awards in South Africa.


The skipper took away both 'Cricketer of the Year' and 'Test Cricketer of the Year' awards at the country's annual cricket awards.


In a dazzling ceremony on Tuesday, the other major winners were AB de Villiers (One-Day International Cricketer of the Year and Fans' Cricketer of the Year) and JP Duminy (Pro20 Cricketer of the Year, SA Players' Player of the Year, and KFC Taste the Action Performance winner).


Smith had an outstanding year both as leader and player.


The skipper led the Proteas to away Test victories over both England and Australia - something the side had never been achieved before.


South Africa also dethroned Australia as the number one ODI combination in the world under Smith.


As a player he was the leading run scorer in Test cricket in 2008 and also in the process became the lone South African to score more than 1600 runs in a 12-month period.


Some of his memorable Test innings during the period are


*An unbeaten 154 at Edgbaston which helped the Proteas clinch the series against England. It was one of the top-10 fourth innings scores of all time in a successful chase.


*His century at Perth also laid the foundation for the Proteas' epic 414 runs chase in the first Test in Australia.


These two victories are two of South Africa's four highest successful run chases of all time, the 414 being only three runs shy of the world record.


Roelof van der Merwe bagged 'Newcomer of the Year' title. Van der Merwe made his debut in the Standard Bank International Pro20 and since never looked back after a man-of-the-match debut that earned him a permanent place in the ODI squad as well.


AB De Villiers also had a wonderful year with the bat. The right-hander averaged 63 in Australia and 60 at home.


The awards covered the period from the start of the tour of England up to the end of the home series against Australia and thus do not include the recent ICC World Twenty20.


Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief Gerald Majola appreciated the winners and said that the awards were true reflection of how well the team had performed and their achievements.


"These awards mark a golden era in the history of South African cricket. It is most fitting that the SA Cricketer of the Year award goes to Graeme Smith, who led the Proteas to their best season ever," Majola said in a statement.


"The awards also take note of an impressive crop of young stars whose outstanding achievements on the international stage have ensured the continued success of the Proteas," he said.