Stokes wins Cricket Writers' award
Ben Stokes, the Durham and England allrounder, has capped an impressive season by winning the Cricket Writers' Club Young Cricketer of the Year award. Derbyshire's Wayne Madsen, who led the Division One batting averages for most of the season despite his county's eventual relegation, took the William Hill County Play of the Year award.
The recognition for Stokes, who is part of England's Ashes squad to tour Australia, comes less than ten months after he was sent home from a Lions tour for indulging one late night too many. He will now hope that he can follow the 2012 winner, Joe Root, in becoming one of a number of recipients of the award to subsequently establish themselves in the full England side.
Stokes has been capped by England in the limited-overs formats, making his debut in 2011 and taking a maiden five-wicket haul against Australia earlier this month. His impressive displays in the ODI series spurred a call-up to England's Test party for the first time and he could eventually be asked to fill the allrounder position.
As part of Durham's Championship-winning side, Stokes scored 615 runs at 27.95 and took 42 wickets at 26.57. His father, Ged Stokes, played rugby league for New Zealand, but Ben went to school in the northeast after the family moved to England. He played for Cockermouth CC before progressing through the Durham academy.
Stokes is the first Durham player to win the award, which is voted for by CWC members. Eligible candidates must have been under 23 on May 1.
Madsen, the captain of Derbyshire, was the second winner of the CWC county award, after Nick Compton in 2012. The 29-year-old made 1221 runs at the top of the order as Derbyshire kept their hopes of Division One survival alive into the final round of the Championship. He was the first batsman to cross 1000 Championship runs and finished as the second-leading scorer in the division, behind Yorkshire's Gary Ballance.
The South Africa-born Madsen, who has been with Derbyshire since 2009, was also recently named the inaugural winner of the Christopher Martin-Jenkins Spirit of Cricket Elite Award, created by MCC and the BBC to acknowledge exceptional sportsmanship, for walking during a crucial Championship match against Yorkshire.
The winners will be presented with their awards at the annual Cricket Writers' Club lunch in London on Monday.