Yorkshire batsman Joe Root has won the inaugural LV= County Championship Breakthrough Player Award. The award celebrates the most promising young player in the county game this season and will hopefully continue for many years to come.
Root was one of six players shortlisted for the award. He saw off tough competition from Simon Kerrigan of Lancashire, Surrey fast bowler Stuart Meaker, Derbyshire top order batsman Dan Redfern, Kent all-rounder Matt Coles and Yorkshire team mate Garry Ballance.
It is no less than Root deserves for an outstanding 2012. He was our pick to win the award and, judging from the reaction to the shortlist on Twitter, was the pick of several fans and journalists.
He just seemed to be the stand out candidate, with his average touching 50 in 2012 and his career best to date 222* against Hampshire. He certainly looks to have a bright future and of the players on the short list for this award, you would pencil him in as the most likely to go and become an England regular.
This was a point that Dominic Cork raised to us a few weeks ago. He looks to have such a terrific temperament to compliment his natural ability, that it would be a travesty were this not to be one award in a career of many.
Root received a commemorative TAG Heuer watch in recognition of his outstanding season in the LV= County Championship. As part of his award, Root nominated Sheffield Collegiate Cricket Club and the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation – a grassroots cricket initiative aimed at introducing youngsters to cricket – to be the recipients of a £500 cheque each, donated by LV=.
“Joe Root is a worthy winner of the inaugural LV= Breakthrough Player Award,” said former England captain Mike Gatting upon presenting Root with his award. “Joe has a bright future in the game and strikes me as the kind of player who will make the very best use of his talent in years to come. Joe’s 222 not out against Hampshire was a defining moment – it was a fantastic achievement from one of England’s hottest prospects.”
“I’m over the moon to have won the LV= Breakthrough Player Award,” added Root himself. “I was up against some top players, so even being nominated was an achievement in itself. I’m happy with how my season has been going, especially considering it is only my second full season in the LV= County Championship. I feel I have really developed as a player this season and I owe a great deal of that to the talented players I play alongside as well as the support and coaching I receive at Yorkshire cricket club.”
This certainly won’t be the last of Root’s individual achievements. He can help Yorkshire to achieve instant promotion back into Division One and it might not be too long before he’s adorned with an England cap – the greatest accolade a cricketer could wish for.
By Miles Reucroft