Special award for ‘a distinguished cricketer’

2008-10-13 00:00

DOUG Watson, who has represented KwaZulu-Natal teams in their various forms for two decades, will be honoured at an awards function in Johannesburg next Monday.

The long-time opening batsman, who now fills a top-order role as player/coach of KZN Inland, will receive a special tribute at the annual SA Cricketers’ of the Year banquet, which is also the launch pad of the authoritative Mutual & Federal South African Cricket Annual.

The publication’s editor, respected cricket writer Colin Bryden, said the special tribute to Watson is a means of honouring a distinguished cricketer who did not otherwise qualify to be an SA Cricketer of the Year.

“Doug Watson has been an exemplary professional during a long career,” Bryden said yesterday. “He would undoubtedly have been an SA Cricketer of the Year if the current system, under which players are only honoured once, had applied throughout his career.”

The 35-year-old Watson, who stamped his Inland debut in typical fashion with a responsible 84 against Western Province in Bellville a week ago, played in a record 112 first-class matches for Natal, KwaZulu-Natal and the Dolphins since making his debut in 1993/94, eclipsing the mark set by another Natal great, Vincent van der Bijl.

The Pietermaritzburg-born Watson has played in a total of 130 first-class matches, including appearances for South Africa A. To date he has scored moe than 7 200 runs at an average of 36, with a tally of 12 centuries, three of which were double centuries, and 41 fifties.

The right-hander also has an impressive limited-over record with over 4 500 runs flow off his bat in 140 matches, including seven hundreds and 27 fifties. Often seen in the slip cordon, the super-fit Watson has also pouched 115 catches.

The Maritzburg College product, who represented SA Schools in 1991, will be presented with a plaque and a leather-bound copy of the 2008 publication of one of the most highly regarded cricket annuals in the world.

The 2008 edition consists of 640 pages of articles, photographs and statistics as well as full accounts of the major cricket played in South Africa in the 2007/08 season.

The five SA Cricket Annual Cricketers of the Year will also be announced at the glittering banquet, which is attended by the who’s who in the game.

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