Spinner Paul Harris was named as one of five South African Cricket Annual Cricketers of the Year in Johannesburg on Monday night. Also named were Gulam Bodi, Justin Kemp, Charl Langeveldt and Morne van Wyk.
The award was a late birthday present for Harris, who turned 29 on Friday. The tall Titans left-arm bowler made a highly impressive entry into Test cricket when he played in home series against India and Pakistan last season. Both teams contained renowned players of spin bowling but Harris claimed 11 wickets in four matches at an average of 28.54.
All five nominees were first-time winners of the award in line with a new policy that players will only be recognised once by the Mutual & Federal Annual. Titans batsman Bodi was recognised for his outstanding achievement in finally earning international one-day colours more than six years after missing out on a tour of the West Indies because of injury.
Bodi, 28, was selected as a wrist spinner in 2000-01 but was injured the day before he was due to depart for the Caribbean. In recent seasons he has shone with the bat, making his international debut as a batsman against Zimbabwe in August. He was also included in South Africa's squad for the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in September.
The big-hitting Kemp, who was appointed vice-captain of the one-day team for the recent tournament in Pakistan, confirmed his reputation as one of the most exciting batsmen in the world game during the past year. Among several fine performances was a thrilling, match-winning maiden one-day international century against India in Cape Town.
Swing bowler Langeveldt was a consistent performer for the Proteas in one-day internationals and was joint leading wicket-taker for South Africa during the World Cup in the West Indies with 14 wickets at 25.78, including 5 for 39 in the win against Sri Lanka.
van Wyk was honoured for his outstanding run-scoring efforts for the Eagles in domestic cricket. He was the leading run-scorer in both the MTN Domestic Championship and the Standard Bank Pro20 and topped the averages in the SuperSport Series. His feats earned him a recall to the national one-day team for the tour of Ireland.