On the same day he signed a new contract extension with GM, Northamptonshire opening batsman and new England recruit Ben Duckett crowned a memorable season by making history as the first ever winner of the two headline honours at the NatWest Professional Cricketers’ Awards at last night’s glittering presentation ceremony in London.
Duckett, 21, became the first man to win both the Reg Hayter Cup for NatWest PCA Players’ Player of the Year and the John Arlott Cup for NatWest PCA Young Player of the Year in the same season. Both awards were voted for by all current professional cricketers in England and Wales.
The brace of trophies, which were presented at the annual NatWest #PCAawards ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Mayfair’s Park Lane, came at the end of a record-breaking summer for Duckett which culminated in him being called up by England for both their One Day International and Test squads for the forthcoming tour to Bangladesh.
“It seems to have been good news each week. I keep saying every week: ‘that has topped off my summer’ and then something else happens,” Duckett said.
“Winning these two NatWest PCA Awards is probably the highlight of my summer. I got my England call-ups and so many other things have happened. If someone had said at the start of the season that all this would happen I wouldn’t have believed it.
“What makes the PCA awards so special is that you are voted for by your peers. People who you play against vote for you and that means a lot to me.
“I can’t keep the smile off my face. I wasn’t expecting this. To be nominated for both awards was an honour in itself so to win them both is something very special.
“Most of the guys who have won the awards in the past have played for England or in international cricket so to follow them is a very great honour.
I’m also delighted to share these awards with Gunn & Moore, who have supported me throughout my professional career and recently offered me an extension to my contract which I signed earlier in the day.”
Duckett made 2,706 runs across all formats in 2016 and began the season by scoring a career-best 282 not out in Northamptonshire’s Specsavers County Championship match against Sussex at Wantage Road and followed up with another double century against Kent at Beckenham earlier this month.
The left-hander also made a maiden List A double century, an England Lions record 220 not out against Sri Lanka A at Canterbury, one of three three-figure scores in one-day cricket and helped Northants to win the NatWest T20 Blast for the second time in four years.
Duckett’s form in the Royal London One-Day Cup helped to secure Duckett selection for the North team for next March’s inaugural three-match series against the South in the United Arab Emirates with places picked through the PCA MVP rankings.
He was voted Northamptonshire’s Players’ Player of the Year last week and he collected the Cricket Writers’ Club Young Cricketer of the Year Award yesterday.
After such a busy season Duckett could be forgiven for wanting a break from cricket, instead he will fly to Bangladesh tomorrow with England’s one day squad relishing the challenge of representing his country for the first time.
“It’s a tough season but I think no matter what state your body is in, after being picked for England I would be more than happy to go and play for the next 12 months straight for my country. It’s a new thing for me and I am absolutely buzzing to get out there,” he said.
David Leatherdale, PCA Chief Executive, commented: “Huge congratulations to Ben who has made history this evening by being the first man to win the NatWest Players’ Player and Young Player of the Year in the same season. He has had a remarkable summer with Northants and fully deserves all the plaudits that go his way and I’m sure he will go on to show his talent in the international arena starting in Bangladesh next month.”
Peter Wright, GM Managing Director, said: “We take great pride and personal interest in the achievements and development of our players and Ben’s success in 2016 and the recognition he has just received speaks volumes of his determination to succeed. After such a great year we are delighted that he has chosen to extend his contract with us and we look forward to providing him with the bats, equipment and support to help him to the next stage of his career.”
Award photo courtesy Getty Images
Ben signs his new GM contract
Ben with GM Sponsorship Manager Richard Harris