Pat Cummins and Usman Khawaja silence the haters with ICC player of the year awards

Cummins has been crowned overall men's player of 2023, while Khawaja got the Test player of the year gong.

Usman Khawaja and Pat Cummins.
Usman Khawaja and Pat Cummins have been honoured with ICC player of the year awards. Image: Getty

Aussie cricket captain Pat Cummins has been named ICC men's player of the year for 2023, while Usman Khawaja has received the award for Test player of the year. The news came to light on Thursday night during the second Test between Australia and the West Indies at the Gabba, and comes as reward for brilliant seasons for both players.

Cummins was named player of the year across all formats, beating fellow nominees Travis Head, Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja. The Aussie captain led his team to glory at the ODI World Cup, while also retaining the Ashes and winning the World Test Championship in 2023.

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He's the first Australian to win the Sir Garfield Sobers trophy (for ICC men's player of the year) since Steve Smith in 2015. Cummins produced vital wickets and runs in ODI and Test cricket all year, while also showing his tactical nous as skipper.

The 30-year-old took 42 wickets in 11 Tests at an average of 27.50 last year, and has already added 11 in five Test innings this year. "It's a huge honour. It's been a big year with lots of wonderful team success," Cummins said. " To get this individual honour is huge. Pretty amazed actually. In terms of an individual accolade, it's right up there and really special."

Mitchell Starc said of his captain: "It's well deserved, not just the last 12 months. He's been phenomenal for a very long time, across the formats. The captaincy as well ... the way he's led the group. Comes on to bowl at the hardest times, makes an impact. A lot of the success of the group is because he's at the helm and he hasn't stopped in 2024."

Usman Khawaja crowned men's Test player of 2023

Khawaja also capped off a brilliant year by winning the men's Test player of the year award. The Aussie opener scored 1210 runs at an average of 52.6 in the last calendar year, with three centuries and six fifties.

He made a career best of 195 not out in Sydney against South Africa in January 2023, and also made 180 in Ahmedabad against India in March. He hit 141 and 65 in the first Ashes Test in Birmingham, setting up a two-wicket win for Australia that eventually helped them retain the urn.

He finished the Ashes series with 496 runs, and is showing no signs of slowing down despite turning 37 soon. "I feel like in my head if I looked for a finish line then the finish line wouldn't be too far ahead, but I don't want to think about the finish line. It is not in my psyche," Khawaja said recently.

Usman Khawaja and Pat Cummins.
Usman Khawaja and Pat Cummins look on before the second Test against the West Indies. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

"The only time it comes into my psyche is when people keep asking me. I get it. The reason they ask is because I am 36 turning 37 and a lot of people do retire then. For me, it is just about playing. I am fit and healthy. Mentally, I still want to compete. I always wondered whether my mental desire would finish.

"I am very different mentally with the way I play now, but I am still as competitive as I ever was. I want to score runs and I want to win cricket games. That hasn't changed."

Cricket fans were delighted to hear the news about Cummins and Khawaja on Thursday night. The accolades come as a big silencer to the critics who have taken exception to the Aussie stars' work off the field in recent times.

In the women's awards, Ash Gardner and Beth Mooney were pipped for female cricketer of the year by Nat Sciver-Brunt. The England all-rounder won the gong for the second consecutive year.

with AAP

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