Sophie Devine, Devon Conway & Ian Smith scoop day-one gongs at NZ Cricket Awards

White Ferns skipper Sophie Devine and potential Blackcaps batsman Devon Conway have been recognised for their outstanding domestic T20 form. 

The Wellington pair have taken out their respective Super Smash Player of the Year titles on the opening day of the New Zealand Cricket Awards.

Normally presented at a swept-up awards function, this year's honours are being presented online over the next few days, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Veteran cricket commentator Ian Smith was also honoured, awarded the prestigious Bert Sutcliffe Medal for his contribution to the sport.  

Regarded as one of the top T20 players in the world, Devine dominated the NZ summer, scoring 365 T20 runs for the Blaze during their title run. Devine also snared 12 wickets, and topped the charts in six-hitting and strike-rate across both the men's and women's competitions.

"It was a fantastic effort from the team," Devine says. "We knew there was the pressure of expectation on us and to go through the season unbeaten was really satisfying.

"It was a pleasing season for me personally. I don’t set goals to hit the most sixes, but that’s certainly my style of play and from a captaincy point of view, I think it’s good to lead from the front and be aggressive.

"Any time you get to score a century is special and certainly to do it in a T20 was pretty cool."

Meanwhile, Conway, who is widely expected to join the Blackcaps set-up by the end of 2020, was just as dominant in the men's competition. 

The South African-born left-hand opening batsman led the way in the men's final, top-scoring for his side, as he finished the competition with a commanding total of 543 runs, at an average of 67, including a century against the Otago Volts.

"I really enjoyed batting up the order this year," says Conway. "T20 can be a bit hit and miss at times, but we managed to put together a really consistent campaign full of memories I’ll cherish.

"The final was such a special day. To see all the Wellington people who braved the weather to be at the Basin Reserve to watch both the Blaze and the Firebirds claim victory was just awesome."

Smith, a former New Zealand wicketkeeper, is humbled to receive the Bert Sutcliffe Medal. 

Ian Smith
Ian Smith Photo credit: Photosport

'Stockly' played 63 tests and 98 one-day internationals for his country, but his transition to broadcasting has been seamless, with Smith leading Sky Sports coverage of the game for more than 20 years. 

The award is particularly fitting, with Sky losing the broadcast rights for NZ cricket at the end of last summer, leaving Smith without a role in future coverage.

"I’m so grateful,” he says. "It makes me quite emotional to think about joining the list of people who have already won this award.

"The playing aspect was the realisation of a dream. I fondly remember the times keeping to Sir Richard Hadlee, watching Martin Crowe bat sides into submission and all the other guys playing their part as well.

"I've loved every minute of calling test cricket. Brendon [McCullum’s] 300 will live forever in my mind, test wins at Lord’s and Hobart, Ross Tayor’s 290, the draw at Eden Park with so much drama against England and, of course, the World Cup final at Lord’s last year.

"It’s been a great journey and I wouldn’t trade it for a second.”

Smith joins a distinguished list of former internationals to win the award, including Walter Hadlee, Merv Wallace, John R Reid, Graham Dowling, Sir Richard Hadlee and Ewen Chatfield.

2020 ANZ New Zealand Cricket Awards

Bert Sutcliffe Medal for Outstanding Services to Cricket: Ian Smith

Women’s Super Smash Player of the Year: Sophie Devine

Men’s Super Smash Player of the Year: Devon Conway  

Wednesday

Men’s Domestic Player of the Year

Women’s Domestic Player of the Year 

The Redpath Cup for First-Class batting 

The Ruth Martin Cup for women’s domestic batting

The Winsor Cup for First-Class bowling

The Phyl Blackler Cup for women’s domestic bowling

Thursday

International Women’s One-day Player of the Year 

International Men’s One-day Player of the Year 

International Women’s T20 Player of the Year

International Men’s T20 Player of the Year

Friday

International Test Player of the Year

New Zealand Umpire of the Year

Sir Richard Hadlee Medal