The Cricket South Africa Awards, widely regarded as “SA Cricket’s Oscars,” is set to take place on Friday evening at Vodaworld in Midrand, marking the first in-person ceremony since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
An ironic embodiment of this turnaround, particularly for the Proteas Men’s team, is Temba Bavuma, the Test and ODI captain.
Bavuma experienced a hard couple of months that necessitated a mental-health break. However, he returned refreshed and enjoyed his finest international season yet.
The significance of this event cannot be understated, as it symbolizes Cricket SA’s resurgence after a period of administrative turmoil that was evident in the low-key virtual ceremonies of the past couple of years.
With Cricket SA seemingly having made strides in rectifying its issues over the past 12 months, there is cause for celebration, particularly following the historic achievement of the Proteas Women’s team in reaching the ICC T20 World Cup final and the notable resurgence of the Proteas Men’s team during the recent home international season.
Relieved of the T20 leadership reins after the Proteas’ unexpected defeat to the Netherlands at the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia, Bavuma played with a newfound sense of freedom, scoring two centuries and an unbeaten 90 in four ODI innings against England, West Indies, and the Netherlands.
He even put an inauspicious start as Proteas Test captain behind him with a career-best 172 in the second Test against the West Indies at the Wanderers.
Bavuma’s remarkable performances have earned him nominations across four categories, including Men’s ODI Player of the Year, Men’s Test Player of the Year, and SA Men’s Player of the Year.
The season witnessed several notable comebacks, with Aiden Markram, who took over the role of Proteas Men’s T20 captain from Bavuma after leading the Sunrisers Eastern Cape to victory in the inaugural Betway SA20 championship, finding his form in both Test and ODI cricket after a couple of lean seasons.
Markram has been nominated in both categories, along with the highly coveted SA Men’s Player of the Year award. Other nominees for the SA Men’s Player of the Year award include last year’s winner Anrich Nortje (ODI, Test, T20) and David Miller (ODI and T20).
The future of the Proteas Men’s team also looks promising with the emergence of young talents such as fast bowler Gerald Coetzee, top-order batsman Tony de Zorzi, and the dynamic Tristan Stubbs, all of whom have been nominated for the International Men’s Newcomer of the Year award.
The exceptional achievements of the Proteas Women’s team over the past year have been spearheaded by star players Laura Wolvaardt, Marizanne Kapp, and the recently retired Shabnim Ismail.
These players have been nominated in all three major categories, including Women’s ODI Player of the Year, Women’s T20 Player of the Year, and the prestigious SA Women’s Player of the Year award.