WORCESTERSHIRE batsman Moeen Ali has won the coveted NatWest Professional Cricketers’ Association player of the year award, with Ashes tourist Ben Stokes picking up the gong for young player.
Birmingham-born Moeen, 26, was voted as county cricket’s top performer by his fellow members, seeing off competition from seamer Graham Onions, whose wickets helped Durham to the LV= County Championship title.
Onions’ 22-year-old team-mate Stokes, who is set to tour Australia with the England squad this winter, edged out current Test star Joe Root, Hampshire batsman James Vince and Essex left-armer Reece Topley to be named PCA young player of the year.
Onions, who took 71 scalps at a meagre average of 18.81 only to miss out on the forthcoming England tours, was at least able to celebrate being crowned championship player of the year.
Glamorgan’s prolific Australian bowler Michael Hogan and Nottinghamshire all-rounder Samit Patel were the other nominees for the main award, but Moeen, who has been selected for England’s performance squad in the winter, triumphed despite playing in the second tier of the championship - testament to his consistency and quality throughout the season.
Ali was productive in all competitions, topping the Pears’ runs column in Twenty20 and coming second in List A matches, but it was in the longer format that he really excelled, with 1,420 first-class runs at 59.16, including a career-best 250 and three more centuries.
There were also 31 wickets with a best of six for 77 in the final game of the season against Northamptonshire.
Stokes scored over 1,400 runs in all cricket - 726 of them in first-class innings - and claimed 44 wickets at 26.61 with his pace bowling.
Among the other winners at the annual event were Northamptonshire’s up and coming all-rounder David Willey and Somerset’s Peter Trego, who were crowned Friends Life t20 and YB40 player of the year respectively.
England’s successful summer was also recognised with James Anderson named international MVP, while Graeme Swann and Ravi Bopara were given individual nods for their efforts in Test and ODI cricket.
Former Lancashire chief executive Jim Cumbes was given the ECB special award, while the PCA honoured the late Tony Greig with its merit award.