Sports

Stokes bags PCA Player of the Year Award

London, Oct 3 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 10/3/2019 1:18:43 PM IST

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has capped off a supreme summer by picking up the Reg Hayter Cup for the NatWest PCA Players’ Player of the Year at the 50th NatWest PCA Awards ceremony.

The 28-year-old scooped the award ahead of Simon Harmer, Ryan Higgins and Dom Sibley for his starring role in an unforgettable international summer that saw England claim their maiden ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup trophy before going on to draw an enthralling home Ashes series against Australia.

Stokes’ unbeaten 84 in the World Cup final and blistering 135 not out to win the third Ashes Test at Headingley, in particular, captured the imagination of his fellow professionals - performances voted the best for England over the last 50 years according to research compiled by the PCA and NatWest. Somerset batsman Tom Banton was named PCA Young Player of the Year, while England spinner Sophie Ecclestone won the NatWest Women’s Player of the Summer, but it was Stokes who took centre stage. “It’s hard to put it into words,” said Stokes. “I am over the moon that players think I am worthy of winning the NatWest PCA Players’ Player of the Year through performances this summer.”

“You can take a lot of personal pride when you receive this award because it’s your peers that vote for you. Earning this award is a huge moment and something I am very gracious of and I am sure the previous 49 winners are gracious of too.”

“While this is an individual award, it is within a team sport so I am only in this position because of what other guys in our squad have achieved as well. What we have done as a team in 2019 is phenomenal, to win the World Cup and draw the Ashes has been a fantastic summer and something I am proud of personally and as a team.”

Stokes has been rested for England’s upcoming T20I series in New Zealand, but Banton will soon be in line to make his international debut. The 20-year-old has produced outstanding form throughout the 2019 season, particularly excelling in the limited-overs formats.

Banton’s 549 runs in this year’s Vitality Blast were bettered only by his opening partner Babar Azam (578). He also hit a memorable maiden T20 hundred against Kent in August, which helped him to scoop his first PCA Player of the Month award. He also hit 454 runs at 41.27 to help Somerset win the Royal London One-Day Cup at Lord’s in May, the club’s first trophy for 14 years, to take the PCA Young Player of the Year award ahead of James Bracey, Zak Crawley and Sibley. Ecclestone made history by becoming the first player to win the NatWest Women’s Player of the Summer award on multiple occasions.

Having picked up the accolade in 2018 on the back of a breakthrough season, the 20-year-old has cemented her place in the England line-up this season.

The left-arm-spinner was her national side’s leading wicket-taker in both the series against the West Indies and the Women’s Ashes this summer. She has produced some of her best form in T20Is, a good sign ahead of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup early next year. “The PCA Awards is always a great evening and it’s amazing to be voted the NatWest Women’s Player of the Summer by the girls,” she said.

“I wish we’d played a bit better during the summer but it’s a really special feeling to be the first player to win it twice - I’m sure mum and dad will be really proud of me as well. I feel like I’m a bit more of a presence in the team now than I was last year, and I’ve enjoyed getting my point of view across.”

“The highlight was definitely when we came back and won the last T20I. It was really nice to end on a high and show that we’re a team to be reckoned with at the T20 World Cup next year. The big goal is to get ready for that World Cup and show everyone what we’re all about.”

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