JOHANNESBURG: Quinton de Kock and Laura Wolvaardt received the highest accolade from Cricket South Africa (CSA) as they won the SA Men's and SA Women's Cricketer of the Year award in their respective categories at CSA's annual awards on Saturday.
The traditional award ceremony was not possible because of the coronavirus lockdown. Hence, the CSA conducted a virtual award ceremony.
Both De Kock and Wolvaardt shined during the CSA awards as they were honoured in three different categories. De Kock was also named Test Cricketer of the Year and was honoured by his peers as SA Men's Players' Player of the Year.
Wolvaardt, on the other hand, was also named Proteas ODI Cricketer of the Year and was voted SA Women's Players' Player of the Year.
De Kock joined the elite company of those who have been named SA Men's Cricketer of the Year on two occasions as he was previously honoured in 2017. The other double winners of CSA's most prestigious men's award are Jacques Kallis (2004 and 2011), Makhaya Ntini (2005 and 2006), Hashim Amla (2010 and 2013), AB de Villiers (2014 and 2015) and Kagiso Rabada (2016 and 2018).
The other previous winners since the awards were instituted in 2004 are Shaun Pollock (2007), Dale Steyn (2008), Graeme Smith (2009), Vernon Philander (2012) and Faf du Plessis (2019).
Wolvaardt becomes the youngest winner of South Africa's top women's award at the age of 21 years.
In an important first for gender equality two of the awards -- the SA Fans' Cricketer of the Year, which was decided by an online poll and the Streetwise Award -- were contested by both the Proteas men and women's players. The former award went to David Miller in a tight contest which was only decided in the final week and the latter was won by Mignon du Preez.
The other big winners in the men's national awards were Lungi Ngidi, who was named both Men's ODI Cricketer of the Year and Men's T20 International Cricketer of the Year, and Anrich Nortje who was named Men's international newcomer of the year and the Delivery of the Year award for his dismissal of David Warner in the third ODI at Senwes Park.
The other top award in the women's category went to Shabnim Ismail who was again named Proteas T20 International Player of the Year while the theme of youthful winners continued with 19-year-old Nonkululeku Mlaba being named International Women's Newcomer of the Year.
CSA Acting Chief Executive, Jacques Faul praised De Kock and Wolvaardt saying that both the cricketers have "set the highest standards".
"Quinny and Laura have set the highest standards that we expect from our icon Proteas players. Quinny is the leading wicketkeeper/batsman in Test cricket and is, in fact, one of the leading batsmen in both red-ball and white-ball cricket. He is also starting to emerge as an outstanding leader as witnessed by the Proteas clean sweep of Australia in their recent ODI series," Faul said in a statement.
"Laura was named in the tournament select XI at the conclusion of the ICC Women's World T20 which tells us a great deal about the esteem in which she is held at international level. At the age of 21, her best years are ahead of her and she will be a key player when the Proteas go to the ICC Women's World Cup next year," he added.
Faul then congratulated all the winners who won an award during the ceremony.
"I warmly congratulate all our winners, both at the international and domestic level, and I also wish to take this opportunity to acknowledge our umpires, grounds staff, and scorers, too," he said.
In the operational category, Adrian Holdstock did the double of both the CSA Umpire of the Year and the CSA Umpires' Umpire of the Year.