NatWest PCA Men’s Player of the Year reflects on winning coveted award.

Chris Woakes has said he feels “honoured and privileged” to have been recognised by his fellow professionals in winning the NatWest PCA Men’s Player of the Year award after being confirmed as the 51st recipient of the Reg Hayter Cup on Saturday evening.

The England man spoke to the PCA after succeeding Ben Stokes to win the coveted prize at this year’s NatWest Cricket Awards, and in doing so also praised the wider efforts of the cricket family to put on a full international schedule in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite the lack of preparation time ahead of a truncated and congested international season, Woakes was able to find some of his very best form in picking up 21 wickets at an average of 23 across eight combined Test and ODI appearances for England.

The all-rounder also produced arguably the defining moment of the 2020 international summer in making an unbeaten 84 to guide England to a thrilling three-wicket victory over Pakistan in the first Test Match at Emirates Old Trafford, including hitting the winning runs off pace bowler Shaheen Afridi.

The 31-year-old was therefore not only recognised by the PCA’s Most Valuable Player Rankings algorithm as England’s top performer across all formats, but also by his fellow professionals as the leading professional cricketer in England and Wales in 2020.

Recognition "an honour and a privilege" - Woakes

The 2020 NatWest PCA Men's Player of the Year reflects on winning the coveted award...

“I’m obviously delighted to win the NatWest PCA Men’s Player of the Year award, even though the news came as a bit of a shock! I feel honoured and privileged to have had that recognition from my fellow professionals. Obviously some great players have won it so to be amongst them is a brilliant feeling.

“It’s a credit to everyone that we have had a full international schedule given what’s happened with the Covid-19 pandemic, so I’m really pleased with how my own performance went and obviously the team’s as well, to win the majority of our series.

“The big highlight for me of the summer was that Test Match against Pakistan, to win from where we were was just incredible. That was a knock and a partnership that I’ll treasure forever.”

Full list of NatWest Cricket Award winners:

  • NatWest PCA Men’s Player of the Year – Chris Woakes (England / Warwickshire)
  • NatWest PCA Women’s Player of the Year – Sarah Glenn (England Women)
  • Vitality PCA Young Player of the Year – Zak Crawley (England / Kent)
  • Test Player of the Summer – Stuart Broad
  • Royal London ODI Player of the Summer – David Willey
  • Vitality IT20 Player of the Summer – Dawid Malan
  • Bob Willis Trophy Player of the Year – Craig Overton (Somerset)
  • Vitality Blast Player of the Year – Will Jacks (Surrey)
  • Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy Player of the Year – Georgia Adams (Southern Vipers)
  • Greene King Team of the Year – Alastair Cook (Essex), Jake Libby (Worcestershire), Tom Lammonby (Somerset), Ben Duckett (Nottinghamshire), Will Jacks (Surrey), Chris Cooke (Glamorgan) [wk], Ryan Higgins (Gloucestershire), Craig Overton (Somerset), Simon Harmer (Essex) [c], Josh Davey (Somerset)
  • ECB Special Award – Prof Nick Peirce (ECB)
  • #Raisethebat Award – Jane Reeson (Over CC, Cambridgeshire)
  • Connecting Communities Award – Jamie Saunders (Isleham CC, Cambridgeshire)
  • Proactive Leadership Award – Miles Horner (Macclesfield CC, Cheshire)

About NatWest’s partnership with cricket:

NatWest has been involved in cricket for 39 years, supporting cricket communities from the ground up. Its sponsorship starts with community club cricket and extends to the pinnacle of the game, as the principal partner of England Cricket men’s, women’s, age-groups, disability and VI teams.

NatWest CricketForce is an annual event that has helped thousands of clubs to upgrade their facilities and is the United Kingdom’s largest annual sport-volunteering programme. This year, NatWest adapted its programme to create a digital, six-week programme throughout July and August to help grassroot clubs get up and running – including free online financial advice and toolkits as well as providing clubs with PPE equipment.

Over 3200 clubs signed up for NatWest CricketForce this year, beating 2019’s record of 2200. Just under 3000 PPE kits have been sent to clubs and over 1300 club members have engaged with NatWest’s Club cricket financial guide, a financial toolkit to help clubs navigate through the difficult financial environment post-lockdown.

NatWest is also the main charity partner of Chance to Shine, which uses cricket to engage with children and young adults, aiding education, social cohesion and wellbeing.

To find out more about NatWest’s involvement in cricket at all levels of the game, head to: natwest.com/cricket