Ross Taylor named NZ cricketer of the year
Black Caps batsman Ross Taylor capped off an incredible summer by being named player of the year not once but twice at the annual New Zealand Cricket Awards in Auckland last night.
Taylor came out on top in almost every category he was nominated in, being named the test player of the year, ODI player of the year and being awarded the Redpath Cup for first-class batting over the 2013-14 season.
Awards were handed out for both this season and last season's efforts after no ceremony was held in 2013 due to the Black Caps' touring commitments.
Taylor, after receiving his two Sir Richard Hadlee medals, was lauded by New Zealand Cricket boss David White who described Taylor as being close to "our greatest ever batsman".
White Ferns and Otago Sparks player Suzie Bates was named the women's international player of the year for both seasons.
Storming Auckland left-armer Mitchell McClenaghan won the Twenty20 player of the year award for this season with Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum taking the gong for the previous season as well as the ODI award.
A special presentation was also made to McCullum to recognise the 302 he scored against India in Wellington last month, the biggest ever test score by a New Zealander.
He talked about his nervousness the morning he brought up the milestone.
"I was fine until I saw the pressure everyone was putting on me."
He said the night before he had a beer with his dad and when asked whether he had any advice he quipped "he had nothing".
Tim Southee was awarded the Winsor Cup for first-class bowling after 10-wicket bags in tests at Lord's and Leeds, and against India in Auckland.
Taylor, meanwhile, collected the test award for 2012-13.
The awards top off a topsy-turvy spell for Taylor after he was unceremoniously dumped as captain by coach Mike Hesson in late 2012. He was eventually offered an olive branch by Hesson who suggested he retain the test captaincy, but decided instead to take a break from cricket.
The break clearly worked wonders for Taylor's form. He reached a career-high world ranking of fourth in the ICC's test batting rankings after three consecutive tons in the test series against the West Indies in December, including his highest test score of 217 not out.
At the awards Taylor said the player of the year award meant a lot.
"It's a very proud moment. "
The double ton was a personal milestone.
"I have always wanted to score a double century so it was nice to knock that off."
He said having a break from cricket worked well for him.
"Having that break was great. The way the team have been performing we knew that we weren't far from those consecutive results we got over the last 12 months. There is a big 12 months ahead. "
He continued his rich vein of form throughout the one-day internationals against India with two half centuries and two tons.
Taylor now has a total of 4178 test runs at an average of 46.94 and a total of 11 centuries - placing him third equal with Nathan Astle in New Zealand's test century rankings.
Taylor said the response from the New Zealand public to the team's season had been more than he had ever experienced.
"I have been getting stopped in supermarkets, petrol stations, dairies- more than I ever have before. That bodes well for New Zealand cricket."
White said Taylor's efforts against the West Indies proved his class.
"Ross showed with those three centuries against the Windies that he is well on the way to being our greatest ever batsman.
"And essentially it set the tone for the summer which ended brilliantly with test and one-day series victories over one of the best sides in the world, India."
Some of the sport's greats, including Sir Richard Hadlee, Martin Crowe and Debbie Hockley were also honoured with historic cap presentations for reaching milestones of 50 or 100 test or ODI caps.
FACTBOX 2012-13 AWARDS:
Domestic cricketer of the year - men: Jesse Ryder
Domestic cricketer of the year - women: Suzie Bates
Redpath Cup (First-class batting): Peter Fulton
Winsor Cup (First-class bowling): Tim Southee
International women's player of the year: Suzie Bates
ANZ Twenty20 International player of the year: Brendon McCullum
ANZ One-day international player of the year: Brendon McCullum
ANZ Test player of the year: Ross Taylor
Sir Richard Hadlee medal (player of the year): Ross Taylor.