Opinion: Behardien will beat de Villiers to T20I Cricketer of the Year award

Fielder throws cricket ball in

Find out why Jonhenry Wilson reckons Farhaan Behardien should pip AB de Villiers to the South African T20 Cricketer of the Year. 

The Cricket South Africa awards are just around the corner again and, surveying the categories, there's some pretty stiff competition on the go this time. Last season's awards were rather one-sided, as Quinton de Kock took the SA Cricketer of the Year, Test Cricketer of the Year, ODI Cricketer of the Year, SA Players' Player of the Year and SA Fans' Player of the Year.

This time, one anticipates a larger, more representative cross-section of Proteas talent across the winners.

A quick reminder of who has been nominated for what:

International Newcomer of the Year: Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, Lungi Ngidi.

T20 International Cricketer of the Year: Farhaan Behardien, Junior Dala, AB de Villiers.

ODI Cricketer of the Year: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, Kagiso Rabada.

Test Cricketer of the Year: AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada.

SA Cricketer of the Year: Dean Elgar, AB de Villiers, Aiden Markram, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada.

Some of the aforementioned categories will be dissected closer to 2 June, when the awards ceremony will take place in Johannesburg. But for now, in the middle of the Indian Premier League, rife with T20 big hitting and death bowling, let's take a look at the T20 International Cricketer of the Year.

This division pits Behardien, Dala and de Villiers against each other. One has had weathered a stop-start career, the other is just kicking things off and the last has been central to the cause for more than a decade, but who deserves to take the accolade this year?

Dala, indeed, took seven wickets in his first three T20Is - against Virat Kohli and company in February. As impressive as these numbers are, it's too early to judge him - and it would certainly be premature to afford him a T20 International Cricketer of the Year award. In time, probably, but not yet.

A brief stint for the Delhi Daredevils in this year's IPL showed his shortfalls, particularly a one-dimensional approach in conditions that are not hard and fast, so he'll need to work on those before hopefully becoming the full package.

De Villiers produced knocks of 65 not out, 46, 35, 49 and 20 to Behardien's 63 not out, 32, 3, 36 not out, 6 not out, 39, 16 not out and 15 not out during the voting period. Behardien averaged 70 to de Villiers' 50-something, over more matches too.

Behardien has frequently been the player the South African public enjoy despising - and is regularly labelled over-rated. This should not be the case for a man who averages 30-plus after more than six years in T20I competition. He deserves belated recognition for his big contribution.

If anything, he has been mismanaged, pushed up and down the order at whim and drafted in and out of the side at the first sign of failure. Many others have been afforded extended runs despite repeated failure. Now is the time for Cricket South Africa to give formal credit where it's due.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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