Ricky Ponting's wonderful season for the Tasmanian Tigers has been recognised with the former Australian captain named the Sheffield Shield Player of the Year at Cricket Australia's annual State Cricket Awards in Hobart on Wednesday.
Ponting polled 18 votes to finish ahead of West End Redback swing bowler Chadd Sayers (16). Queensland Bulls batsman Usman Khawaja and emerging NSW Blues fast bowler Gurinder Sandhu tied for third place with 12 votes each, Cricket Australia stated in a media release on Wednesday.
Ponting's brilliant form with the bat, at an average of 87.5, catapulted his team into top spot on the Sheffield Shield ladder and hosting honours for the Shield final, starting this Friday.
The annual State Cricket Awards are held in the lead-up to the Sheffield Shield final, this year to be contested between the Tasmanian Tigers and the Queensland Bulls at Blundstone Arena on Friday.
Victorian Bushranger Aaron Finch's astronomical average of 84 at a run-a-ball in the domestic limited-overs format this season saw him take home the RYOBI One-Day Cup Player of the Year Award. Finch finished on 15 votes, one ahead of West End Redback Kane Richardson (14).
In women's cricket, the WNCL Player of the Year award was jointly shared by VicSpirit's Meg Lanning and Western Fury's Nicole Bolton, while fellow Western Fury teammate Jenny Wallace took home the WT20 Player of the Year award.
It was a tight contest for the WNCL Player award with dominant performances from opening batter Lanning (one century at an average of 65.66) and Western Fury captain Bolton (two centuries at an average of 55.00) both polling 17 votes, edging out Alex Blackwell (16).
WA wicketkeeper Wallace's consistent WT20 season was rewarded, finishing on 27 votes, ahead of teammates Alex Blackwell (26) and Alyssa Healy (24).
Rounding out the individual award winners were ACT Comets fast-bowler Nick Winter (Toyota Futures League Player of the Year), NSW's Nathan Price (Lord's Taverners Indigenous Cricketer of the Year), and Bruce Oxenford (Cricket Australia Umpire Award).
Meanwhile, the Tasmanian Tigers were awarded the Benaud Men's Spirit of Cricket Award, while Lend Lease Breakers took home the Benaud Women's Spirit of Cricket Award after they became the first side to win both the WNCL and WT20 titles in the same season this year.
The Benaud Spirit of Cricket Awards are decided by umpire votes and recognise State cricket teams which have best played in the spirit of the game in recognition that elite cricket should be played hard but fair.