Kent’s Joe Denly has capped a fine season across all formats, at the end of which he won an England recall after eight years out of the set-up, by being named the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) Players’ Player of the Year. Denly also scooped the Vitality Blast and Royal London Cup awards at the PCA’s end-of-season bash at the Roundhouse in Camden.
Nominated alongside Kent team-mate Matt Henry, and Surrey pair Rory Burns and Rikki Clarke, Denly won the most votes from his peers after a season in which he scored 1729 runs, alongside taking 57 wickets with his late-flowering legspin. Last week, he was named the PCA’s Most Valuable Player, a prize worth £10,000.
“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,” Denly said. “It’s been a very enjoyable 12 months that’s for sure.
“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.
“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.”
Ollie Pope, who made his Test debut during he summer as well as scoring 986 runs for Championship winners Surrey, was the winner of the PCA’s Young Player award, while spinner Sophie Ecclestone was named Women’s Player of the Summer after taking 20 wickets across six ODI and five T20 appearances for England.
“It’s a special year, whether that be getting my call-up or more importantly, winning the Championship and contributing in that successful side,” Pope said. “It’s obviously an exciting time for county cricket and this country in general.
“It’s incredibly special and this makes it even more special. Coming from players we play against is awesome.”
Ecclestone, who made her England debut in 2016 as a 17-year-old, was earlier in the day named in the squad to go to next month’s Women’s World T20.
“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 have 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.”
For the second year running, James Anderson was England’s Test Player of the Summer, while Jos Buttler, who was absent with the limited-overs squad in Sri Lanka, received the one-day player award. Lancashire seamer Tom Bailey won Championship Player of the Year, with Denly claiming the white-ball double.
Burns, who alongside Denly and Pope won selection to England’s Test squad for Sri Lanka, was named captain of the Greene King Team of the Year, selected via the PCA MVP rankings. The retiring Lord’s groundsman Mick Hunt received the ECB Special Award for his 49 years of service at the Home of Cricket.
David Leatherdale, the chief executive of the PCA, 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.
“This is all underpinned by a successful domestic structure and I would like to congratulate Hampshire, Worcestershire and Surrey on their titles and Warwickshire and Kent on achieving promotion.
“However, tonight is about championing the best individual players throughout the season and I would like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners. There is no higher praise than to be voted for by all your team-mates and your peers.”
Greene King Team of the Year: Rory Burns (Surrey, capt), Alex Davies (Lancashire), Joe Denly (Kent), Ian Bell (Warwickshire/Birmingham Bears), James Vince (Hampshire), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Dane Vilas (Lancashire, wk), Rikki Clarke (Surrey), Ed Barnard (Worcestershire), Matt Henry (Kent), Morne Morkel (Surrey)
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