One hell of a ride ends with top award

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 23: Steve Smith hits the ball during an Australian nets session at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 23, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
Steve Smith bats in the nets at the MCG yesterday. Photo: Getty Images Michael Dodge

 Steve Smith has come a long way since making his Test debut as a leg-spinner against Pakistan at Lord's in 2010.

At just 26, he is now Australian captain, been ranked the world's No.1 batsman, was one of two players to make the ICC's Test and ODI teams of the year, and has now been awarded the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy as the ICC's cricketer of the year.

Smith, the fourth Australian to win the award behind Ricky Ponting (twice), Mitchell Johnson and Michael Clarke, scored 1734 Test runs in the voting period (September 18, 2014 to September 13, 2015), with seven centuries and a top score of 215 against England at Lord's in August.

He also scored 1249 runs in 26 ODIs at almost 60, including four centuries and the winning runs in the World Cup final against New Zealand at the MCG in March.

"Five years ago I wouldn't have pictured myself in this position," Smith, also named Test player of the year, told

"It's been one hell of a ride, the last five years. To come in and play as a spinner then get thrown back into state cricket and come back (into the national side) and play as a batsman and not do so well, to go back to state level and try and find a game that can be adaptable and be successful at this level was important to me.

"I said when I got another opportunity I wanted to make the most of it, and I think I've done that."

Smith wasn't the only Australian to be recognised in the awards.

Southern Stars captain Meg Lanning was named Women's ODI cricketer of the year, while Josh Hazlewood took out the emerging cricketer of the year honour.

Other winners included South African captain AB de Villiers who was named ODI cricketer of the Year, and Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum who picked up the spirit of cricket award.