African nations have dominated the ICC Development Awards 2022, with four nations from the continent winning the top six global prizes.
Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda have walked away with the top honours after their initiatives played a vital role in the development of the game of cricket in the region.
The winners of the ICC Development Awards 2022 were determined by a panel of specialist voters that included a host of cricket icons. The voters consisted of Graeme Smith, Mel Jones, Stafanie Taylor and representatives from ICC Full Members, ICC partners and the media.
The ICC Development Awards were launched in 2002 and honour world-leading initiatives and innovative programmes undertaken by ICC Members to develop and grow the game of cricket in emerging nations during the previous calendar year.
The list of the 2022 winners are:
Winner of the ICC Development Initiative of the Year – Cricket Namibia
Namibia were named the winner due to the continued success of their Ashburton Kwata Mini-Cricket Programme. This participation programme was launched in 2009 and embraces the notion of playing in open environments, and encourages respect, leadership and resilience through the game of cricket.
This programme has been honoured for a second successive year in the ICC Development Awards and has now expanded throughout the country and playing opportunities were provided to over 20,000 children through the initiative.
Winner of the 100% Cricket Female Cricket Initiative of the Year – Nigeria Cricket Federation
Nigeria were awarded the honour after their initiative of delivering cricket programmes in the Zamfara state, a region in the northwest of the country.
A number of barriers exist in the region including ethnicity, religion, tribe, and tradition, preventing women to participate in the sport and the initiative achieved significant results, with over 15,000 female participants in 2022, despite initial opposition.
Winner of the ICC Associate Member Men’s Performance of the Year – Namibia (v Sri Lanka)
Namibia stunned the cricketing world by beating Sri Lanka in the opening stages of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 in Geelong, Australia.
Jan Frylinck, JJ Smit and David Wiese delivered sensational performances as Namibia beat the 2014 champions and cricketing powerhouse by 55 runs.
This has seen them clinch the ICC Associate Men's Performances of the Year award, with skipper Gerhard Erasmus stating, "It really is a fairy tale story for Namibian cricket to have beaten the former ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Champions. I think the sacrifice and determination of everyone involved led to this triumph, and it will be forever etched into fans’ memories."
Winner of the ICC Associate Member Women’s Performance of the Year – Rwanda U19
Rwanda were one of the stories of the inaugural ICC Women's T20 U19 World Cup in South Africa, creating some memorable moments.
The performances came on the back of regional development programmes and U-15 girls' tournaments, and Rwanda stormed through the ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier in Botswana, beating Uganda and Tanzania.
Winner of the ICC Digital Fan Engagement of the Year – Uganda Cricket Association
Uganda had a 15-year hiatus from the U19 showpiece event but used the event in 2022 in a creative manner to showcase and highlight their young stars.
They made use of innovative ways, graphics, videos and collaborations to enhance engagement and awareness among cricket fans back home in the country.
To promote their young stars, they used participation from fans, influencers, and famous faces from other sports such as football, volleyball and basketball, witnessing an uptick in followers on social media.
Winner of the Cricket 4 Good Social Impact Initiative of the Year – Cricket Namibia
Namibia launched a colourful Pledge 4 Pink social impact campaign to fundraise for the Cancer Association of Namibia, yielding excellent results, and helping them win the award.
In the annual event, various activities took place over a five-day period including a Pink Ball, a Golf Day and a specialist T20 tournament on Pink Day, with over 2,000 spectators attending in support of the cause.
The initiatives also included national players auctioning off their jerseys and Cricket Namibia raised N$152,000 to support various cancer patients around the country.