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Usman Khawaja bags inaugural Shane Warne Men's Test Player of the Year award
Melbourne: Australia opening batter Usman Khawaja capped his second comeback as a Test opener by claiming the inaugural Shane Warne Award as the men's Test player of the year.
Named in honour of the legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne, who passed away last March, Khawaja polled 22 votes to win ahead of Marnus Labuschagne (20) and Steve Smith (16). "Khawaja was a heavy favourite for the award after a prolific 12 months that saw him score 1,020 runs in the voting period, at an average of 78.46. The Allan Border Medal's overall winner is decided primarily by test votes, however Khawaja hasn't represented Australia in either limited-overs format in the previous 12 months," Australia Cricket said in an official statement.
Travis Head's injury during the Ashes series led to Khawaja entering the Australian team, and Khawaja jokingly praised Head "for giving him a game"
Khawaja has been Australia's top run-scorer in the five-day format since rejoining the Test team in January of last year, with 1020 runs at 78.46 during the voting period.
In the Test against South Africa at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), he finished the voting session with an undefeated 195; this was his third straight Test century there.
Along with his Australian teammates Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, and Marnus Labuschagne, Khawaja was last week selected for the ICC Test Team of the Year.
Meanwhile, Veteran opener David Warner was named Men's ODI Player of the Year. Warner beat his teammate Steve Smith to win the Men's ODI Player of the Year award, who were locked on 25 votes for this tightly-contested award, with that pair one vote ahead of Travis Head.
Following votes from players, umpires, and media from the 17 matches Australia played during the voting period, the award was the first major honour presented at the 2023 Australian Cricket Awards.
Smith scored 539 at a rate of 67.37 in 11 games, while Warner, who was "extremely astonished," scored 552 runs over 13 games at a rate of 42.46. Because Warner received the maximum three votes in more games--three as opposed to Smith's one--he won the tiebreaker.
For his 99 in the fourth game against Sri Lanka in Colombo, his 94 in the third game against Zimbabwe in Townsville, and his 86 in the first ODI against England in Adelaide, Warner received the most votes.
All-rounder Marcus Stoinis claimed Australia's T20 player of the year award after a season that saw him hit 347 runs at a strike rate of 168.44, as well as taking eight wickets in the 16 games he played.
Josh Hazlewood, a fast bowler, received 24 votes, while Matthew Wade and Glenn Maxwell tied with 21 votes. Stoinis won the prize by one vote.
While Australia's T20 World Cup defence failed at home, middle order batsman Stoinis was outstanding. He received the most votes for his 59 not out from 18 balls against Sri Lanka, which included six sixes, and he also received points in matches against Ireland and Afghanistan.
Stoinis missed the award ceremony because he had flown to the United Arab Emirates for a quick four-game T20 league stint with the Sharjah Warriors, which was crammed in between the end of the Melbourne Stars' BBL season and the start of domestic cricket. (ANI)