28 Apr 2020

Devine, Conway and Smith honoured at New Zealand Cricket Awards

11:28 am on 28 April 2020

Sophie Devine, Devon Conway and Ian Smith are the recipients of the first New Zealand Cricket awards to be announced.

White Fern's captain Sophie Devine joins school girls on the field during the ICC Women's World Cup Launch.

Sophie Devine Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The awards are being presented electronically for the first time due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Smith received the Bert Sutcliffe Medal for Outstanding Services to Cricket, while the Wellington pair of Devine and Conway received the domestic Super Smash T20 honours.

White Ferns captain Devine spearheaded the Blaze's run to their third straight T20 title with 365 runs and 12 wickets, topping the six-hitting table (25) and strike-rate charts (184.5) in both the men's and women's competitions.

"It was a fantastic effort from the team," reflected Devine.

"We knew there was the pressure of expectation on us and to go through the season unbeaten was really satisfying.

The Blaze T20 title winning exploits were backed up on the same day at the Basin Reserve by their male counterparts the Firebirds, who downed the Auckland Aces by 22 runs to seal a capital city double.

Firebirds Devon Conway celebrates 100 runs.

Devon Conway Photo: PHOTOSPORT

As he had done all season, left-hand opening batsman Devon Conway led the way in the 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," said 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 came out and braved the weather to be at the Basin Reserve to watch both the Blaze and the Firebirds claim victory was just awesome."

Former New Zealand wicket-keeper turned broadcaster Ian Smith played 63 Tests and 98 ODIs for his country, but it's perhaps behind the microphone that he has made his greatest impact - calling in many of New Zealand's greatest cricket moments of the past two decades and commentating on a whopping 112 Tests at home.

"I'm so grateful," Smith said.

"It makes me quite emotional actually 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.

Cricket commentator and former New Zealand wicket-keeper Ian Smith.

Ian Smith Photo: Photosport

"I've loved every minute of calling Test cricket. Brendon (McCullum's) 300 will live forever in my mind; Test wins at Lord's, 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.

"I dedicate this award to my wife Louise. Anyone who's been involved with touring and cricket will know you have to have a base and Louise has been fantastic the whole time, and has brought up three great sons in Jarrod, Jake and Angus.

"I also want to thank my teammates throughout my playing career who made it all possible to have the success that I had.

"Also, the people I've worked with and, in particular, the people over the past two decades at SKY television who have provided cricket coverage. I was part of it from day one right to the very end and I will never forget the friends I've made and the hard work they put in.

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.

The ANZ New Zealand Cricket Awards continue tomorrow with the First Class and domestic batting and bowling trophies presented along with the overall Domestic Player of the Year awards.