New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson was adjudged ‘International Test Player of the Year’ along with winner of the prestigious Sir Richard Hadlee Medal for the fourth time in last six years at the New Zealand Cricket Awards on Tuesday.
Amelia Kerr and Devon Conway claimed double honours during the 2020-21 awards season which was conducted digitally.
Williamson’s incredible home Test summer helped him clinch the two awards alongside the Redpath Cup for first-class batting, after he amassed a whopping 639 runs in just four innings at an average of 159.
In bowler friendly conditions, Williamson, the ICC ranked number one Test batsman, recorded his top international score of 251 against the West Indies in Hamilton, then a Boxing Day Test century on his home ground of Bay Oval in Tauranga, before adding another double-century against Pakistan at Hagley Oval in Christchurch – to help the Blackcaps book their place in the ICC World Test Championship Final.
“Going into the Test summer – there was that Championship Final carrot and there was a real drive there for the guys,” Williamson told Sir Richard Hadlee upon receiving the news of the award on a phone call.
“Although it seemed a long way off, winning four Tests before you’ve started one is a pretty lofty goal and we knew we just had to try and play as well as we could and commit to what was in front of us.
“To and do that for a long period of time and to spend some time at the crease personally and make contributions towards that ‘certainly pretty proud as a leader and a player in this side that we were able to achieve some of those things and we’re looking forward to that final,” he added.
Blackcaps batsman Conway made every post a winner in his first international season and was rewarded with the men’s ODI and T20 International Player of the Year awards.
The elegant-left hander smashed 473 T20I runs at an average of 59, strike rate 151, with four half-centuries and a top-score of 99 not out – to edge out fellow batsman Glenn Phillips (366 runs at 40.6) and bowlers Tim Southee (21 wickets at 16.7) and Ish Sodhi (20 wickets at 15.4).
Conway’s ODI form was just as dominant as he plundered 225 runs at 75 in the three-game series against Bangladesh, including his maiden international century at the Basin Reserve in March.
White Ferns’ Kerr’s all-round skills and fielding prowess saw her win the Dream11 Super Smash and the International T20 women’s awards.
The leg-spinning all-rounder played a key role in the team’s upset wins over Australia in Brisbane before Christmas and in Napier last month.
Stand-in White Ferns captain Amy Satterthwaite was named the women’s ODI Player of the Year, after taking some time off to have a baby and returning to the fold to score 304 runs at 38, including a top score of 119 not-out against England in Dunedin.
Leadership was also acknowledged as a factor in Williamson prevailing in the supreme award over strong cases from Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson, who also played key roles in the teaming winning 17 out of 20 games and all seven series they contested this summer.