Player of the Year
Joe Denly’s joy of being recalled to the England squad was doubled after being named as Professional Cricketers’ Association Players’ (PCA) ‘Player of the Year’ on Thursday (October 4.) Phenomenal across formats this season, Denly also bagged the Vitality Blast and Royal London ‘Player of the Year’ awards to cap off a memorable English summer.
“Playing against fantastic cricketers throughout the years and being recognised for your contribution to your team, and what you achieved in that year is something very special and to be proud of,” Denly said.
“The last couple of years is about enjoying cricket and having a good understanding of what works for me and what doesn’t, and really sticking to that and enjoying that,” he added.
The 32- year-old Kent cricketer was one of the nominees among Matt Henry (Kent), Rory Burns (Surrey) and Rikki Clarke (Surrey), who too had an exceptional season, but were outnumbered in votes Denly gained from his contemporaries.
Besides notching up 1729 runs and claimed 57 wickets in the season, Denly became the first player in T20 history to score a hundred and grab a hat-trick in the same match (against Surrey). “Being here tonight and being the NatWest PCA Players’ Player of the Year, it’s a very proud day and the ultimate accolade in domestic cricket. It’s been a very enjoyable 12 months that’s for sure,” Denly noted.
Surrey’s Ollie Pope received PCA’s Young Player award; the 20-year old who made his debut against India earlier this summer compiled 986 Championship runs averaging over 40 in Surrey’s successful campaign. “It’s a special year, whether that be getting my call-up or more importantly, winning the Championship and contributing in that successful side. It’s obviously an exciting time for county cricket and this country in general,” he said.
England left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone seized the Women’s Player of the Summer laurels after claiming 20 wickets across eleven limited-over games (6 ODIs and 5 T20Is). She was also named in the recently-announced England squad for the Women’s World T20 next month. “I’m so proud of myself,” she said.
“Now to be playing on the big stage with all the girls is obviously amazing. My family has worked so hard for me and I’ve worked hard for myself. It tops off an amazing year. Definitely extra special to know they recognise what I’ve done as well, so it’s extra nice.”
The chief executive of the PCA, David Leatherdale, said: “The 2018 NatWest PCA Awards are a fitting finale to what has been an exceptional summer of cricket. With Eoin Morgan leading England to white-ball domination, Joe Root taking England to a 4-1 victory over India and Heather Knight captaining a clean sweep of summer series, the national teams are in great shape.”