McCullum receives Sir Richard Hadlee Medal
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has been named the winner of the Sir Richard Hadlee Medal for 2014-15, while Kane Williamson swooped up the awards for Twenty20 international player of the year, ODI player of the year, Test player of the year, as well as the Redpath Cup for First Class batting at the New Zealand Cricket Awards in Auckland. It marked the first time that the recipient of the Sir Richard Hadlee Medal did not clinch any of the other major awards.
Left-arm quick Trent Boult, the joint leading wicket-taker of the World Cup, was awarded the Winsor Cup for First Class bowling, while New Zealand Women's captain Suzie Bates was named International Women's Player of the Year.
McCullum, who led New Zealand to their first ever World Cup final, had also been named the New Zealand sportsman of the year back in February - the first cricketer to win the title since 1991. A press release from NZC stated that McCullum received the medal for "not only his contribution as a batsman but also his role as an inspirational leader for the Blackcaps during the past 12 months."
New Zealand enjoyed unprecedented success under McCullum in 2014, winning five Tests from nine matches, a national record. It included series victories against India and West Indies, as well as a drawn series against Pakistan in the UAE. McCullum scored 1164 Test runs - the most by a New Zealand batsman in a calendar year, including his country's first ever triple-century, against India at the Basin Reserve.
In the third Test against Pakistan in Sharjah in November, McCullum blasted a 188-ball 202, ensuring the visitors leveled the series with an innings-and-80-run win. He capped off a fine year by scoring 195 against Sri Lanka in Christchurch, where he also knocked off the record for the fastest hundred by a New Zealand player in Tests, off 74 balls. That innings also ensured that McCullum become the first ever New Zealand batsman to amass 1000 Test runs in a calendar year.
During the World Cup, McCullum's aggressive captaincy and rapid knocks at the top of the order helped New Zealand to eight consecutive victories, including hard-fought wins against Australia in the group stage, and South Africa in the semi-final. It earned him a place in both the ICC as well as ESPNcricinfo's team of the tournament.
Williamson had a fairly quiet World Cup - 234 runs from nine matches - but his fine form in the months leading up to it did not go unnoticed. He hit four Test tons in 2014-15, including a career-best 242 not out against Sri Lanka and was also one of three New Zealand players to be included in the ICC Test team of the year.
"I feel fortunate, but also bad, in some ways, to receive these awards," Williamson said, referring to New Zealand's defeat in the final at the MCG. "We had a great World Cup campaign. Obviously we didn't go all the way, but we played the kind of cricket we wanted to, led by Brendon.
"Cricket is very fickle and some days you score runs and some days you don't and that's the nature of it. It feels nice to have contributed at some stage of the season and you always want to do more. It's nice to have scored a few runs and be a part of it throughout the season."