[dropcap]U[/dropcap]AE – Australia captain Steve Smith has been named cricketer of the year by the International Cricket Council, winning the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy.
The 26-year-old becomes the fourth Australian to lift the trophy since the inception of the awards in 2004, following Ricky Ponting (2006 and 2007), Mitchell Johnson (2009 and 2014) and Michael Clarke (2013).
Smith, who succeeded Clarke as his country’s Test skipper in August, also picked up the Test cricketer of the year accolade. He guided Australia to a 2-0 Test series win over New Zealand last month, and they lead the ongoing series against West Indies 1-0.
He was the sixth highest run-scorer at this year’s triumphant Cricket World Cup campaign, hitting 402 runs at an average of 67, and registered 1,734 runs in 13 Tests – at an average of 82.57 – during the voting period from 18 September, 2014 to 13 September, 2015.
“Given that there are so many great players around the world, I’m incredibly honoured to receive these awards,” Smith said. “While team success is always my number-one motivation, awards like this are very special. I’m thrilled and very proud to receive them.”
South Africa’s one-day captain AB de Villiers was named ODI Cricketer of the Year for the second straight year. He also won the award in 2010. Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood was crowned emerging cricketer of the year, while Australia women’s captain Meg Lanning was named Women’s ODI cricketer of the year and West Indies women’s captain Stafanie Taylor won her maiden Women’s T20 cricketer of the year award.
“If I was to look back, the century I scored against the West Indies at the Wanderers will probably go down as the most memorable knock of the year,” De Villiers said. “In saying that, centuries count for nothing if the team isn’t winning, so hopefully in the future I can contribute to many more Proteas wins.”
De Villiers’ team-mate and South Africa’s T20 skipper Faf du Plessis won the T20 performance of the year award for his 56-ball 119 against the West Indies in Johannesburg in January.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who announced on Tuesday that he will retire from international cricket in February, won the spirit of cricket award.
The 34-year-old, who invited De Villiers and his South Africa side to the New Zealand dressing room after a closely fought World Cup semi-final earlier this year, said: “I think the spirit of cricket is hugely important and I feel extremely honoured to have received the award. It does take buy-in from the entire team, though, and the rest of the Black Caps squad needs to be recognised for this as well.”