Jonny Bairstow and Nat Sciver have been voted winners of the cinch Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) men’s and women’s Player of the Year awards, with Harry Brook and Freya Kemp being named as Young Players of the Year.
Bairstow, who earlier this week was named by the Cricket Writers’ Club as the inaugural Bob Willis Trophy winner, collected the trophy at the PCA’s annual awards dinner at Hurlingham Club in London, having been the outstanding player of a memorable season for England’s Test team.
He made 681 runs at 75.66, including four centuries, as England won six of their seven Tests against New Zealand, India and South Africa. However, he is currently out of action after suffering a badly broken leg during a freak golfing accident.
“It’s a privilege to win the cinch PCA Men’s Player of the Year and when your colleagues vote for you it’s a real honour,” Bairstow said. “It’s so hard to pinpoint one individual moment but as a collective I was delighted to have contributed in most of the Tests.
“Winning six out of seven Tests was a huge achievement for everyone,” he added. “After the last couple of years that we’ve had its great to be back on the winning side of it. I was really pleased with how results turned out and how the group has grown and bonded together over the summer, it’s been a pleasure to be part of and hopefully I’ll be back with the squad soon.”
Bairstow is the fourth England player in a row to claim the top PCA award, which last season went to Joe Root and before him Chris Woakes. Ben Stokes claimed the honour in 2019 following his stellar displays in the World Cup and Ashes, which was also the last occasion that the awards dinner had been held, before Covid caused a two-year hiatus.
Sciver, who also won the PCA Women’s Player of the Year award in 2017, was the outstanding performer for club and country in 2022, a year which began with two centuries at the World Cup in New Zealand, including a brilliant 148 not out against Australia in the final.
She followed that form up with a maiden Test hundred, 169 not out against South Africa at Taunton, and capped her season by being named the PCA’s MVP at the Hundred, with her haul of 228 runs at 76 including a stunning innings of 72 not out from 36 balls in the Eliminator at the Ageas Bowl, as Trent Rockets fell just two runs short of booking a place in the final.
Sciver is currently taking a break from the game, having withdrawn from England’s series against India in September, for which she had initially been named as stand-in captain.
“A massive thank you to everybody that voted for me to win the cinch PCA Women’s Player of the Year, I am really honoured,” Sciver said.
“I’ve been really happy with my form this year. It’s weird to think that the World Cup was this year too. The two centuries in the World Cup were really special, and the Test match innings against South Africa was brilliant too.
“The Hundred had a great second year, the cricket and atmospheres were brilliant again, and the Rockets had a better year than last which is very pleasing. Hopefully we can improve next year too.
“As cricketers we are perfectionists and often remember the negative things that have happened so it’s hard to remember all the good things but there have been some great memories and highlights.”
Brook, whose impressive form for England in Pakistan has made him a strong candidate for a starting berth at this month’s T20 World Cup, has retained the Young Player Award that he picked up in 2021, making him the first player to do so since Sir Alastair Cook in 2005 and 2006.
“A lot of people have a good year but to be able to back it up and be consistent for a couple of seasons is really nice,” he said. “It’s great to follow in Alastair Cook’s footsteps, he was a genius and I just hope I can continue scoring runs.
“It’s such a good feeling to get this recognition because it’s from your own teammates and opposition, which is a big achievement, so I’m honoured to have won it twice.
“Being involved in a World Cup is what dreams are made of. It’s special being able to represent England at a World Cup and hopefully I can get a few games and make some match winning contributions.”
Kemp, who turns 18, pipped last year’s winner Alice Capsey, as well as Grace Scrivens, to claim the women’s young player award, after a breakout season in which she was handed an England T20I debut after just seven professional appearances.
Although primarily a left-arm seamer, Kemp’s finest hour came with the bat, when her unbeaten 51 from 37 balls against India at Derby made her the youngest England player, male or female, to score a T20I half-century.
“It’s an absolute honour to win this award,” she said. “It’s been such an amazing summer, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and have learned so much. Being surrounded by lots of great players who have shared their knowledge and experience has really helped and supported me.
“I am very excited for the future. I want to try and have a long and successful career. I feel very lucky to have had so many amazing opportunities this summer that I hope will continue and I want to now build on. Travelling around the world playing cricket is also an exciting prospect and something that I would love to be able to do.”
Among the night’s other accolades, Anna Harris and Nick Cook were named as Umpires of the Year, as voted for by the players, while the former Gloucestershire wicketkeeper Andy Brassington was handed an Outstanding Contribution Award to his creation of ‘Walkers & Talkers’, an initiative to create a safe space for people to make friends and discuss their thoughts and feelings.
The ECB also presented its Special Merit award to former board member, the late Brenda Trenowden CBE, who died in August at the age of 55.