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Former winners speak ahead of 50th NatWest PCA Awards ceremony.
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The annual NatWest PCA Awards will return to London’s Roundhouse on Wednesday 2 October, and 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the prestigious occasion.
In the lead-up to this year’s ceremony, the Professional Cricketers’ Association has been speaking to some notable previous winners of the main awards, gaining insight into how it feels to have your achievements recognised by your fellow professionals.
This year’s event will celebrate a remarkable summer of domestic and international cricket which saw the England men’s team take home their maiden ICC Cricket World Cup title. A 800-strong crowd consisting of players past and present, partners and guests will be treated to an evening of glitz and glamour at the world-renowned venue.
The three biggest awards of the night are the Reg Hayter Cup for the NatWest PCA Players’ Player of the Year, the John Arlott Cup for the PCA Young Player of the Year and the NatWest Women’s Player of the Summer and you can look back at all of the previous winners here.
After an unforgettable summer of English cricket, the shortlists have been announced for the trio of Awards, which include current and future international players which you can read about here.
In the lead up to the Awards, below you will find the thoughts of a selection of players to have collected the three main awards on what it meant to them to pick up the coveted accolades.
“It was an amazing year for myself. I wouldn’t have expected to have had a season like that across all formats. I’ve gone on to represent England in Test cricket and, if you’d asked me at the beginning of 2018 whether that was likely to happen, I would never have predicted it.”
Joe Denly, the most recent winner of the NatWest PCA Players’ Player of the Year award, enjoyed a stunning 2018 season, recording first-class, List A and T20 batting averages of 40, 70 and 37 respectively. He has since gone on to regularly represent England in all formats.
“To win both the PCA Young Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year awards was obviously very special for me. It’s up there with the best things I’ve ever done. It was a great evening.”
Ben Duckett became the first player to win both the Reg Hayter and John Arlott Cups on the same evening when he scooped the awards in 2016. Duckett scored 2,258 runs across all formats – and picked up the T20 Blast – in what was an incredibly prolific summer for Northamptonshire.
“Winning the Championship and then getting that PCA Young Player of the Year award was obviously a great time for me. I was over the moon to be recognised by the people who I played against throughout that whole summer. I was very, very proud of it.”
All-rounder Stokes enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2013 as he helped Durham to the County Championship title. After averaging 32 with the bat and 27 with the ball in first-class cricket, he was the recipient of PCA Young Player of the Year. The accolade was immediately followed with selection for the 2013-14 Ashes tour where he made his debut and posted a memorable maiden century in Perth.
“Knowing that the players in my team and in opposition sides around the country had voted for me made me immensely proud. You look at some of the names on (the trophy) and there are a number of guys who have gone on to have illustrious international careers.”
Current England Test skipper Joe Root was named the PCA Young Player of the Year in 2012 after scoring 746 first-class runs for Yorkshire at an average of 39.26. That form was enough to secure him a call-up for England’s winter tour of India, and he duly made his international debut that December.
“In terms of individual achievements, to win the PCA Players’ Player of the Year is something very, very special. It’s right up there with anything you can achieve as an individual.”
There’s no question that Vaughan was England’s outstanding player in the summer of 2002, scoring 900 Test runs at 90 during home series against India and Sri Lanka. After being named the NatWest PCA Players’ Player of the Year, Vaughan would go on to enjoy a memorable Ashes series over the winter, accumulating 633 runs across five Tests down under.
“To make my international debut and collect the PCA Young Player of the Year award in the same year made it a defining year for me. It meant the world because it’s picked by your fellow professionals.”
Matthew Hoggard had a year to remember in 2000, making his Test debut against the West Indies at Lord’s before going on to win the PCA Young Player of the Year at the season’s end. If 50 first-class wickets at 25.48 throughout the summer was a good return, then 42 List A wickets at 13.85 in the same period was an excellent way to enter the millennium.
“To be a three time winner of the trophy is something really special to me. When you look at the list of players who have won the award, some once or twice, and myself and Sir Richard Hadlee three times, it’s a nice feeling to be up there with some of the greats of the game.”
In 2011, the Somerset legend became only the second man to win the PCA Players’ Player of the Year three times. He had previously won the award in 2000, the year he broke into the England team, and subsequently won in 2009 and 2011 after recording a remarkable first-class average of over 75 in both of those seasons.
“1990 was a golden year for batting. I was a young opener and had the best education possible, standing 22 yards away from an England legend in the form of Graham Gooch.
“I have no doubt that whoever wins this year will go on to have a highly successful career.”
In 1990, a 22-year-old Mike Atherton became the first man ever to win the PCA Young Player of the Year award. Atherton scored 1,170 first-class runs for Lancashire at an average of 78, and averaged 69 for England in just his second international year.
“1990 is a long time ago now, but you could look back on it as the best and most productive year of my career.
“When you’re playing with people, whether it’s domestically or internationally, for them to hold you up as a beacon of your sport in that particular year is a great honour.”
Current PCA President Graham Gooch picked up the PCA Players’ Player of the Year award after his record-breaking season of 1990. In the summer of his famous 333 and 123 against India at Lord’s, the England legend averaged an incredible 106 and 96 in first-class cricket for Essex and his national side respectively.