Smuts takes lion’s share of annual awards
Captain Jon-Jon Smuts was the biggest winner at the Warriors’ yearend gala dinner and awards ceremony on Tuesday night, scooping six accolades, including player of the year.
The 28-year-old walked away with the best batting, best bowling, and player of the series awards for 50-over cricket.
For the T20 tournament, he took the best batting and player of the series awards, having recorded his highest score of 107 runs not out and taken nine wickets. Asked how he felt about his achievements, a modest Smuts said: “I just want to win games for the Warriors.
“If you can keep taking your team over the line it really does put the team in a good space.
“If you keep performing and your team is also still winning, that’s what you want.
“Most cricketers will tell you that runs or wickets almost have an empty feel when your team loses.
“It’s been pretty much of a dream season for me personally. I would love to say I can match this in years to come,” he said.
The opening batsman and slow bowler said it had been a high season for him. However, losing to the Titans in the final of the T20 Challenge was a disappointment.
The sides meet once more in the Momentum One-Day final in Centurion tomorrow, and this time around Smuts is confident his team will be victorious
“We were right up there with the Titans ball for ball and it was just a small margin at the end,” he said.
“With the 50-over Momentum series, I personally have had a really good tournament. I’ve scored a few runs and taken a few wickets.
“Once again for us as a team to be in the final is something special. Hopefully, we will get one over the Titans this time.
“It would be difficult to lose to them again in one season.
“We know we can match them. We know they have a few stars but, on the day, if we can rock up and play we believe we can do it.”
Smuts’s outstanding performance saw him receive a call-up from the Proteas to be part of the T20 squad which took on Sri Lanka in the KFC International Series.
The skipper said the hard work was not over as his plan was to get his name back in the national squad and hopefully keep it there for many years.
“Making my debut for the Proteas has been really something special, [it’s] something you can never do again.
“It was a dream come true, but from now onwards I want to stay in that environment. I want to get back there and try to stay there permanently.”
Other winners were: Colin Ackermann – four-day batting and player of the series awards. Basheer Walters – four-day cricket bowling award. Andrew Birch – T20 cricket bowling award. Lesiba Ngoepe – newcomer of the season award.