Ben Stokes was yesterday named Young Cricketer of the Year by the Cricket Writers’ Club.
It caps a memorable season for the Durham all-rounder which saw him respond to winter disciplinary problems by re-establishing himself in the England limited-overs team and earn his first call-up to a Test squad.
Stokes was named in the England party for this winter’s Ashes after an impressive season with Durham.
The 22-year-old averaged 27.95 with the bat and 26.57 with the ball in the County Championship, but his performances were better than the statistics suggested,
He made 127 in Durham’s win at then-league leaders Yorkshire, and although he only took five wickets in the game, his reverse-swing bowling was crucial in conjuring a victory from a flat pitch.
It was a vital win in securing Durham’s third Championship title, and Stokes’ first.
He topped the county’s Twenty20 Cup batting averages with 46.86, playing match-winning innings in three consecutive matches to lead the county into the knockout stages.
Stokes and Matt Coles were sent home from England Lions’ winter tour of Australia after ignoring warnings about their drinking. But he won his place back for the Twenty20 series against New Zealand, and one-day series versus Australia.
Stokes and Jos Buttler produced a match-winning 65-run partnership in the fourth one-day international, and finished the five-match series with 5-61 at Southampton. It was the first five-wicket haul of his limited-overs career.
The award, for English-qualified players under the age of 23 on May 1, has been running since 1950 and was won previously by Joe Root.
Derbyshire captain Wayne Madsen was Championship Player of the Year after a season in which he wasthe First Division’s second-highest scorer with 1,221 runs in a relegated side.
Meanwhile, Will Smith has joined Hampshire. Durham released their former captain at the end of the season after winning his fourth Championship title, three with the Riversiders.
Smith, who turned 31 on Saturday, captained Hampshire’s Dave Balcombe at Durham University, and played alongside Ruel Brathwaite and Neil McKenzie for Durham.