ICC Awards: Usman Khawaja Named Men’s Test Cricketer of the Year for 2023

Usman Khawaja wearing the black armband (Credit: Twitter)

Usman Khawaja wearing the black armband (Credit: Twitter)

Australia’s Usman Khawaja was announced as the ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Year for 2023.

Australia opener Usman Khawaja was named the ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Year for 2023, while England all-rounder Nat Sciver-Brunt won the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year for the second year in a row as Sri Lanka star Chamari Athapaththu has won the ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year for 2023 after a stellar 12 months.

Khawaja edged out tough competition from teammate Travis Head, India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and England’s Joe Root for the award following a successful year that culminated in Australia claiming their first ICC World Test Championship title.

Khawaja kicked off 2023 in splendid form, carrying forward his momentum from the previous year by notching a career-best score of 195* against South Africa.

The opener shined in the biggest test of his career – the away series against India where he finished as the top run-getter among both teams with 333 runs in four matches, which included a century and two fifties.

Undeterred by a pair of rare failires during the World Test Championship Final, Khawaja rebounded against England in the Ashes, finishing once again as the highest run-getter in the series with 496 runs.

The left-handed star finished the year on a high with three scores of 40+ against Pakistan.

With a grand total of 1210 runs, Khawaja stood alone as the sole player to breach the four-figure mark for Test runs in the challenging and rewarding year of 2023.

Nat Sciver-Brunt Wins ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year Award

For the second year in a row, Nat Sciver-Brunt has been named as the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year. The player remained in prime form throughout the year, with some of her most remarkable knocks coming in 2023’s Women’s Ashes against Australia.

Similar to last year, Sciver-Brunt was at her dominant best in ODI cricket.

From only six games, she scored 393 runs with an average of 131, which included three tons. This brought her total number of ODI tons to eight, now just one behind England’s national record jointly held by Tammy Beaumont and Charlotte Edwards (nine each).

She also had sturdy knocks in her two Test outings of the year, hitting two fifties against Australia and India respectively.

Sciver-Brunt was England’s highest run-getter at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, scoring 216 runs at a strike rate of 141.17. She continued performing throughout the year, contributing with a brilliant 77 against India to set a vehement England win at Wankhede in December. She also picked up nine wickets with the ball.

Chamari Athapaththu Wins ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year for 2023

Chamari Athapaththu was rewarded for her exceptional year with the bat in ODIs. The Sri Lanka top-order batter made significant contributions with the bat and as captain, notably leading the side to a first bilateral series win over New Zealand.

Athapaththu showcased exceptional skills and leadership throughout the year, excelling both as a captain and a player in the ODI format.

Athapaththu started the year as skipper with a 1-0 win in a rain-truncated series over Bangladesh. With the first two matches not producing a result due to rain, the final clash turned into a decider.

In a 30-over-a-side game, the skipper stroked a 60-ball 64 laced with six fours and four sixes to propel Sri Lanka to 186. With the ball, Athapaththu got rid of her opposite number and top-scorer Nigar Sultana to put her side in pole position for victory.

Her finest hours as a player and captain came against New Zealand, where Sri Lanka recorded their first-ever bilateral series win (2-1) over the White Ferns.

Athapaththu starred in both victories with a couple of fiery centuries that blew New Zealand away. Her 108* and 140* came in pressure chases and on both occasions, the opener was at the crease to guide her team to victory.

Her significance in the team became even more evident during the series against England, where Sri Lanka suffered a 2-0 defeat on foreign soil, largely due to lean returns from the 33-year-old.

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