Sophie Devine named Super Smash Player of the Year

Sophie Devine in action. © Getty Images

Sophie Devine took out the Super Smash Player of the Year award on the opening day of the 2020 New Zealand Cricket Awards on Tuesday (April 28). The New Zealand skipper led from the front through the tournament guiding Wellington Blaze to a historic third consecutive title.

Devine, who came into the T20 tournament in fantastic form – fresh off a Women’s Big Bash League Player of the Tournament award – scored a total of 365 runs and took 12 wickets. Her tally included a century against Northern Districts in Mount Maunganui to kick off the new year.

Unsurprisingly, she also topped the six-hitting charts across the men’s and women’s tournaments with 25 big hits to her name. Her tournament strike rate of 184.5 was also the highest in the competition.

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“It was a fantastic effort from the team,” reflected Devine. “We knew there was the pressure of expectation on us and to go through the season unbeaten was really satisfying.”

“It was a pleasing season for me personally. I don’t set goals to hit the most sixes but that’s certainly my style of play and from a captaincy point of view I think it’s good to lead from the front and be aggressive.”

“Any time you get to score a century is special and certainly to do it in a T20 was pretty cool.”

The COVID-19 restrictions meant, for the first time, the awards had to be presented electronically.

Devine admitted that while the restrictions have been frustrating for the players, they were doing their best to prepare as well as they could.

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“Everyone’s health has to come first at the moment so as players it’s about keeping ourselves physically and mentally ready to go for whenever the moment may come when we can play again,” she said.

Meanwhile, former New Zealand men’s wicket-keeper turned broadcaster, Ian Smith was honoured with the Bert Sutcliffe Medal for Outstanding Services to Cricket by NZC Chairman Greg Barclay.

While Smith played over 150 internationals for New Zealand, he is better known for his work behind the microphone.

“I’m so grateful,” Smith said via video call from his home in the Hawkes Bay. “It makes me quite emotional actually to think about joining the list of people who have already won this award.”

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“I dedicate this award to my wife Louise. Anyone who’s been involved with touring and cricket will know you have to have a base and Louise has been fantastic the whole time, and has brought up three great sons in Jarrod, Jake and Angus. It’s been a great journey and I wouldn’t trade it for a second.”

 

New Zealand Cricket Award Winners: Day 1

Women’s Super Smash Player of the Year: Sophie Devine
Bert Sutcliffe Medal: Ian Smith

NZC Community Awards:

Venus Cup Player of the Year: Amie Hucker (Epsom Girls Grammar)
Club of the Year: Geyser City Cricket Club
Volunteer of the Year: Dave Gillespie (Taita District Cricket Club)
Official of the Year: Annette Campbell (Cornwall Cricket Club – scorer)
Cricket Development Officer of the Year: Toby Doyle (Canterbury Country)
Best Female Engagement Initiative: Colin Mann (Masterton Intermediate)
Outstanding Contribution and Services to Coaching: Glynn Cameron (North Otago)
Outstanding Contribution to Cricket: Rod McGregor (Waiuku District Cricket Club)
Sir Jack Newman: Rick Mudgway (Johnsonville Cricket Club)