Anrich Nortje is the rapidly improving fast bowler who won the Newcomer of the Year award last season for the Proteas, and on Monday night he was crowned the overall Player of the Year. And the 27-year-old just wants to be the bowler who keeps hitting the top of off stump more than anyone else.
As well as being named the SA Men’s Cricketer of the Year, Nortje took the titles of Test Cricketer of the Year and the Fans’ Player of the Year, and also shared the prestigious Players’ Player of the Year award with Aiden Markram.
“I was not thinking about winning four awards after such an up-and-down season with Covid and not playing a lot of games,” Nortje said.
“I had a decent season but I’m just very happy to be part of the awards again. I’m quite happy with how I progressed, there were just moments here and there where I needed to lift. I’ve had a short career but there have been a lot of highlights in the Tests.
“I’m looking forward to building on that momentum and I’m very excited about going to the West Indies. I’ve heard a lot of good stories about the place, but I’m not sure if it will suit fast bowling. When you know the conditions aren’t going to suit you, then you just have to concentrate extra hard on the basics, try and hit the top of off stump as often as possible.”
Fellow fast bowler Shabnim Ismail was the SA Women’s Cricketer of the Year and she also sounded like someone who had passed their exams, acknowledging that the 2020/21 season had been a testing one. She was also voted the Players’ Player of the Year and the T20 Cricketer of the Year.
“I’m truly happy with the awards because they show all the hard work behind the scenes has paid off. I was really happy with my performances and I’m just really grateful and happy to win these awards. I put in the hard yards, I was getting career-bests and I’ve done well for the team. I was chuffed with my performances and happy overall,” Ismail said.
“We wanted to portray ourselves as a different South African team and I think we did that in the last two series against Pakistan and India. And now hopefully we can win the World Cup.”