South African captain Graeme Smith’s inspirational leadership and prolific batting in the season gone by fetched him the twin honours of ‘Cricketer of the Year’ and ‘Test Cricketer of the Year’ at the country’s annual cricket awards here.
In a glittering ceremony here on Tuesday, the other major winners were AB de Villiers (One-Day International Cricketer of the Year and Fans’ Cricketer of the Year) and JP Duminy (Pro20 Cricketer of the Year, SA Players’ Player of the Year, and KFC Taste the Action Performance winner).
Smith had an outstanding year both as leader and player.
He led the Proteas to away Test victories over both England and Australia – something that had never been achieved before – in the space of six months.
Under Smith, South Africa also dethroned Australia as the number one ODI combination in the world.
As a player he was the leading runs scorer in Test cricket in the calendar year of 2008, becoming the first South African to score more than 1600 runs in a 12-month period.
He also played one of the most memorable Test innings of all time when an unbeaten 154 at Edgbaston helped the Proteas clinch the series against England.
It was one of the top-10 fourth innings scores of all time in a successful chase.
His century at Perth also laid the foundation for the Proteas’ epic 414 runs chase in the first Test in Australia.
These two victories are two of South Africa’s four highest successful run chases of all time, the 414 being only three runs shy of the world record.