• AB must be the man

    AB de Villiers must be crowned as the SA Cricketer of the Year at next week’s awards ceremony.

    I would have no problem if Cricket South Africa’s judging panel decided to give De Villiers the awards for both SA Cricketer of the Year as well as ODI Cricketer of the Year at next week’s CSA Awards.

    If it happened, it would be hard to argue with that decision. De Villiers, who won the award last year, has comfortably been South Africa’s best player over the past year. He has matured into a world-class batsmen who dominates bowling attacks, while his consistency and his captaincy have also improved.

    The other nominees for Player of the Year are Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn, but I don’t think any of them have done enough to get the award ahead of AB.

    I would think that World Cup performances will play a big part in the decision-making and if that is the case, then surely De Villiers will get it because he is such a match-winner.

    Looking at the statistics, it will be quite difficult to decide who gets which award. The period of performances on which the awards are based is from May 1 2014 to April 30 2015. In other words, the international awards cover the trips to Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia, as well as the home series against the West Indies and the World Cup.

    Let’s start with the ODI award. The nominees are Amla, Morkel, AB and Imran Tahir.

    De Villiers scored 1 610 runs in 26 ODIs during that period at an average of 61.92. He racked up four centuries and 10 fifties.

    Amla scored 1 638 runs in 30 ODIs at an average of 54.6, including eight centuries and five fifties. He and De Villiers scored more or less the same mumber of runs, though AB played four fewer games and had a better World Cup.

    Looking at the bowlers, it’s also very tight. Morkel took 45 wickets in 25 ODIs, while Tahir claimed 44 wickets, also in 25 matches. Too close to call, considering both had excellent World Cups.

    If we look at the nominations for Test Player of the Year, it’s between Dean Elgar, Amla and Steyn.

    Elgar scored 658 runs in six Tests at an average of 109.66 which included two hundreds and two fifties.

    Amla scored 543 runs in the same number of Tests at an average of 90.5.

    Steyn was also impressive, taking 34 wickets in six Tests.

    I’m inclined to give the Test award to Elgar. He works hard and does a job, even though he’s not dominant as an opening batsman.

    The ODI award is a tougher decision, but I think overall De Villiers should be crowned Cricket of the Year. He wasn’t nominated for the Test award, but still managed 559 runs in seven Tests at an average of 79.8.

    If you add his stats to his match-winning performances and his growth as a captain in the 50-over format, no-one deserves it more.

    Post by

    Graeme Pollock