Rushworth eyes England after PCA award
Durham seamer Chris Rushworth has been named the Professional Cricketers' Association Player of the Year, and hopes further success can push him towards England honours.
Rushworth, 29, claimed 83 wickets at 20.61 in the County Championship, which set a new Durham record, and 100 across all formats. Significantly, 46 of his Championship wickets were taken away from the favourable home conditions of Chester-le-Street.
His prolific season follows a 2014 campaign where he bagged 65 wickets in the Championship - during which he went teetotal for the year to raise money for charity - and he hopes that he still has the chance of forcing the selectors' hand and earning an international call-up.
"I am over the moon, it is a massive achievement," Rushworth said. "To be voted for by fellow players and your peers is a very privileged moment and one I'm very proud of.
"Personally this year couldn't have gone any better, 83 wickets to go past a club record, it's just a shame we didn't win anything as a team. Personally, I couldn't be more pleased and to finish off with this award wraps up a brilliant season.
"For myself this award is massive and the biggest individual award in county cricket. You play against these guys quite a few times a year so to be voted to win this award is a huge achievement and I'm very grateful and proud.
"Hopefully it's the next step to progressing towards further honours. To receive this from guys who have also had fantastic seasons and to pip them to the post is fantastic moment.
"The guys that have won it in recent years have gone on to play Test cricket like Adam Lyth, Moeen Ali and Nick Compton, so that is definitely in my sights. Hopefully I have another good season next year and I can put my name in the hat for Test selection."
The Young Player of the Year award went to Tom Curran who claimed 105 wickets across all formats, helping Surrey to promotion in the Championship and the to final of the Royal London Cup. Having been confirmed that his qualification period to become eligible for England is completed at the end of October, Curran has been added to the England Performance Programme Squad for the training camps in South Africa and Dubai.
"We have had a great season as a side this year," Curran said. "Losing in the Royal London Cup final was a huge disappointment but it was still a good achievement and we won the second division of the LV=County Championship which was a special day as well. I'm very pleased for our side and it's great to be able to contribute to our success.
"At the start of the season I was just trying to do the simple things well and then I started taking a few wickets and, as long as the summer is for us cricketers, it has actually gone really quickly and a little surreal if I'm honest."
He also paid tribute to his younger brother, Sam, after the 17-year-old made a considerable impact in his first season. He claimed 22 Championship wickets, 15 in the Royal London Cup and seven in the T20 Blast, while also showing his talent with the bat in almost carrying Surrey to victory in the final at Lord's and then making an unbeaten 61 in the last Championship match against Northamptonshire.
"It has been a very special summer for Sammy as well," Tom said. "He came in half way through the season when we went down with a couple of injuries and he has shown everyone he has got what it takes. It's great to be bowling with him and I am so pleased for him this year.
"Playing for England would be the ultimate for any young cricketer and that is my goal but I am concentrating on Surrey first and hopefully the rest will take care of itself and I know that is how Sam feels too."
Stuart Broad won the Test Player award after his outstanding Ashes series including the iconic 8 for 15 at Trent Bridge, fellow opening bowler Anya Shrubsole won the Women's Player of the Year award and Gloucestershire's Michael Klinger took the double of NatWest T20 Blast and Royal London Player of the Year after his prolific white-ball season.
Shrubsole said: "I am absolutely honoured to have won this award and it makes it more special that it is selected by your team-mates, so it is a nice end to what has been a difficult year. Despite not achieving what we wanted as a team, I am pleased with the way I bowled. A special mention must go to Katherine Brunt who was brilliant with bat and ball this summer, she received my vote. It's nice to do well personally but it was just a shame we didn't quite regain the Ashes."
Jim Cumbes, the former Lancashire, Surrey, Warwickshire and Worcestershire player and Lancashire chief executive, was given the Special Merit Award to mark his 50 years of service to the game. He was CEO at Old Trafford from 1998 and 2012 and oversaw the major redevelopment of the ground which involved extensive legal battles.