I once attended the PCA end of season awards ceremony at the Hurlingham Club, London, along with my sister. We were making up numbers on a corporate table bought by our mum’s firm of solicitors and were there on the basis that we could hold an end in terms of conversation, whether academic or cricket.
All I can say – supported by anyone who knows me – is thank goodness my Blackberry (yes, it was that long ago) was in for repair and Tractor 2 didn’t have a camera phone. Although most memories of the evening are hazy (beyond a disputed ‘who told the boss that our mum’s colleague is a moron??’ chat), I do recall congratulating Eoin Morgan on a super season, much to the amusement of Jimmy Anderson, and stumbling into Stuart Broad, saying ‘sh*t, sorry’ before looking up, and up, and up before finally finding his face and repeating ‘really sorry’. He was delightful, obviously.
Beyond that, Scouting for Girls were great, Nasser Hussein struggled on with the awards over a generally-sloshed audience, and Jon Lewis did some seriously stinky farts. I kid you not.
This year, the PCA awards were a more subdued affair but it remains worthwhile to take a look at the winners and reflect on a different but fascinating season.
Chris Woakes took home the men’s player of the season award in a triumph for a workhorse who always has a smile on his face, in spite of this summer’s dodgy facial hair and Alice band! Undoubtedly one of the nicest guys in English if not world cricket, no one could begrudge Woakes his award. For me, his grace and class in recognising that he is a horses for courses player, and never making a scene of that fact, mark him out as a thoroughly deserving winner.
Scooping the Young Player of the Year award was Zak Crawley. Having seen him stand in on last winter’s South Africa tour when the England team was beset by illness, I have to say I liked him. I’m an old fashioned cricket fan and I have no time for the extravagance of KP, no matter how many runs he scored for England. Crawley is the embodiment of the exact opposite: humble, determined and working hard for every inch of success. As I think I wrote about in a previous blog, the excellent Simons Hughes and Mann felt that he may not be a ‘great’ Test match cricketer, with just 12-15 hundreds to his name throughout his career. I would settle for Crawley achieving this and being a great of our time. His double-hundred this summer bodes so well for a future when we may not fear England taking to the middle.
Sarah Glenn won the Women’s Cricketer of the Year Award and I am sorry that I haven’t seen more of our promising young leg-spinner to write more about her achievements. Someone who has played through the new leagues of women’s cricket to reach national level, Sarah clearly has a bright future ahead of her and I look forward to watching her play. The fact that it is only 10 months since her debut for England makes me feel a little better about missing her meteoric rise!
Final mention goes to Stuart Broad. I know I’m wearing this argument out but I seem to be in the minority of England supporters in thinking Stuart is great. Maybe someone else will write a book in a few years that derides him as the most arrogant man they have ever met… but I doubt it. To me, he is entirely genuine: a man who gives his all every time, and like the rest of us may not always be 100% on form but my goodness he gets it right often enough and strikingly enough to be given the benefit of the doubt! He is humble yet forthright, an unusual combination, and I have enjoyed so many of those magic Broad spells where he simply tears through a side that I would never want him out of an England team. Yes, England need to do some succession-planning but I am entirely behind Broad in his desire to play every game and make an impact.