Auckland, March 23 (IANS) Amelia Kerr and Daryl Mitchell have been recognised as winners of top honours in the New Zealand Cricket Awards ceremony, here. While Amelia won the inaugural Debbie Hockley Medal awarded to outstanding women’s cricketer, Mitchell was named winner of the Sir Richard Hadlee Medal awarded to outstanding men’s cricketer.
Mitchell, who also won the Redpath Cup for men’s first-class batting, was recognised for a stand-out year across the board but particularly at Test level, where he scored four centuries, played a leading hand in New Zealand’s last ball win against Sri Lanka at Christchurch, and rose to number eight in the Test batting rankings.
Mitchell amassed 913 Test runs at an average of 70.23, including a highest score of 190 against England at Trent Bridge last year. In 16 Test innings he scored 50 or more on nine occasions. Amelia, on the other hand, was also named the Women’s T20I Player of the Year.
Amelia, the leg-spinning all-rounder, was her T20I team’s second-highest run-scorer with 423 runs at 32.53 (strike-rate 112.20) and equal second-highest wicket-taker with 17 at 20.41, achieved with an economy rate of 5.52. She also averaged 40.66 with the bat in ODIs.
Kerr’s team-mate, opener Suzie Bates was named the Women’s ODI Player of the Year following significant contributions with the bat against both the West Indies and Bangladesh, against whom she struck three half centuries, a highest score of 93 not out, and averaged 55.55.
Wicket-keeper Tom Blundell was recognised for his continued improvement in red-ball cricket with the Test Player of the Year award. Blundell amassed 849 runs at 60.64 with the bat, including two centuries and six half-centuries.
He was polished behind the stumps, effecting 38 dismissals, including nine stumpings and the scrambling, diving catch down the legside to complete the dismissal of England’s James Anderson, sealing New Zealand’s one-run Test win at the Basin Reserve.
Blundell’s Test captain, Tim Southee, was the winner of the Winsor Cup for men’s first-class bowling after another strong year in the five-day format, taking 32 Test wickets and increasing his career tally to 370, in the process overtaking Daniel Vettori as New Zealand’s second highest Test wicket-taker to Sir Richard Hadlee.
Glenn Phillips was rewarded for a brilliant season in the shortest format of the game by being named the Men’s T20I Player of the Year award, having thrilled New Zealand supporters with 740 runs at 38.94, scored at a strike-rate of 148.89.
Phillips scored a century against Sri Lanka in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup last year, added six more half-centuries, was selected in the World Cup tournament team, and was named man of the series against Ireland, Scotland, the West Indies and India.
He was also one of the most exciting fielders in T20Is, taking 18 catches — several of them worthy of catch-of-the-season discussions. Michael Bracewell was named the Men’s ODI Player of the Year after a stand-out season in which he scored 510 runs at 42.50.
It also includes two eye-opening centuries: an unbeaten 127 off 82 balls against Ireland, and an even more remarkable 140 off 78 balls against India at Hyderabad. Bracewell also continued his development as a useful off-spinner, taking 14 wickets at a respectable economy rate of 5.32.