The Australian cricketers were rewarded with big accolades at the Cricket Australia’s Annual Awards. All the Australian stars from the International and domestic man and woman athletes gathered for the annual awards. The stand-out performers from different categories were rewarded.
The 23-year-old opener from South Australia has recently been crowned the Betty Wilson Young Cricketer of the Year, a well-deserved accolade rewarded for her outstanding contributions to the game at the domestic level. She scored 731 runs at an average of 43. She was the fourth-highest run-scorer in the 2022/23 Women’s National Cricket League edition. Her best performance with the bat came on 20th December 2022 when she scored 112 runs at a strike rate of 91.05 against Australian Capital Territory Women (ACT Women).
On the back of impressive performances at the domestic level, she also received a surprise call-up from the Melbourne Renegades in the 9th edition of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL). She scored 89 runs in 5 innings at a strike rate of 132.83 and an average of 22.25 for the Melbourne Renegades. Her best performance with the bat for the franchise came on 17th November 2023 against Brisbane Heat when she scored 42 runs at a strike rate of 120. She is one of the emerging talents from Australia.
She had an exceptional career with the bat at the International level for Australia. She continues to display her cricketing prowess at the domestic level for Tasmania in the Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL). Her stellar performance in the crazy final against South Australia last summer, where she notched up a century, stands as a testament to her remarkable skill and consistency. Villani’s ability to anchor the innings and deliver under pressure has undoubtedly played a pivotal role in Tasmania’s success in the WNCL. She was the leading run scorer in the 2022/23 edition of the WNCL with 705 runs at a strike rate of 92.27 and a humongous average of 78.33. Her best performance with the bat last season came on 16th February 2023 when she scored an unbeaten 174 runs at a strike rate of 116.77 against Western Australia. In the ongoing 2023/24 edition, she has scored 241 runs at a strike rate of 98.25 and an average of 26.77 in 9 innings. Her third award in four years solidifies her status as one of the premier players in women’s cricket, and her influence on the field continues to inspire aspiring cricketers across the nation.
Sophie Day the 25-year-old left-arm spinner who has been on an absolute tear with the ball. Day’s stellar performance earned her the coveted BKT Golden Arm for claiming the most wickets in WBBL 2023 with 27 wickets to her name at an average of 12.48. Her ability to deceive and outwit batswomen has been a crucial asset for her team, and her contributions extend beyond the T20 format. Adding another feather to her cap, Sophie Day showcased her versatility by claiming an additional 14 wickets while representing Victoria in the WNCL.
One of the world’s premier all-rounders, Ashleigh Gardner has secured her second Belinda Clark Award, capping off a remarkable year of cricketing excellence. The dynamic Australian cricketer previously claimed the coveted award in 2022. Ashleigh Gardner’s triumph extends beyond the cricket field as she clinches the Community Impact Award.
The defining moment in Gardner’s award-winning journey was her match-winning performance with the ball during the one-off Test in England as part of the multi-format Ashes series. The battleground was Trent Bridge in June, where Gardner’s spin wizardry propelled Australia to victory. Her remarkable figures of 12-165 for the match etched her name in the annals of women’s Test cricket, ranking as the second-best bowling performance in the history of the format. Importantly, this triumph marked Australia’s first Test win since 2015, further elevating the significance of Gardner’s contribution.
Ellyse Perry has emerged as the shining star, claiming both the Women’s T20I Player of the Year and Women’s ODI Player of the Year awards. The T20I Player of the Year Award is particularly significant as 18 months ago she was dropped from the Australian T20I setup courtesy of her strike rate. However, she bounced back with a rejuvenated approach, marked by a newfound power game that took her T20I career strike rate from 109.83 to an impressive 148.29 during the award’s voting period. She was pivotal in saving Australia from the brink with an unbeaten 51 from 27 balls at The Oval during the multi-format Ashes. Her composed innings of 34 not out from 21 balls against India showcased her clutch performances, reinforcing her indispensability to the team.
The ODI Player of the Year award further solidifies Perry’s status as an all-format star. Her work on the power game that contributed to the T20I win also translated seamlessly into the 50-over format. Batting at first drop during the one-day leg of the multi-format Ashes, Perry delivered crucial performances, including scores of 42 in Bristol, 53 in Taunton, and a stellar 91 in challenging conditions at Southampton. The latter innings played a pivotal role in Australia’s Ashes retention.