Pat Cummins honoured with world cricket’s top award

Joel Gould and Murray Wenzel |

Australia opener Usman Khawaja has been named ICC Test player of 2023.
Australia opener Usman Khawaja has been named ICC Test player of 2023.

Pat Cummins has been named the ICC’s men’s player of the year, capping a dream campaign for the Australian fast-bowling captain.

Cummins was awarded the 2023 Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy, ahead of teammate Travis Head and India duo Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja, on Thursday night.

He’s the first Australian to be given the accolade since Steve Smith in 2015, while Usman Khawaja also celebrated his remarkable second-coming as a Test opener to win that format’s ICC men’s player of the year.

Khawaja wins
Usman Khawaja has won the men’s Test cricketer of the year award. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

Shortlisted Australian women Ash Gardner and Beth Mooney were pipped for the  Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award for women’s cricketer of the year by England allrounder Nat Sciver-Brunt, who won for the second consecutive year. 

Test and one-day skipper Cummins led the men’s team to a World Test Championship triumph, the retention of the Ashes and a record sixth triumph in the Men’s Cricket World Cup over a bumper calendar year.

Vital Ashes runs and wickets were followed by similar contributions in the World Cup, where his tactical nous also came to the fore when he bravely chose to field first against the hosts in the final.

The 30-year-old took 42 Test wickets in 11 Tests last year at an average of 27.50 and has already added 11 in five Test innings this year.

“It’s well deserved, not just the last 12 months,” teammate Mitchell Starc said.

“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.”

The acknowledgement followed Australian opener Khawaja’s announcement as men’s Test cricketer of the year.

The opener scored three centuries and six fifties on his way to 1210 runs at an average of 52.6 in the last calendar year. 

Khawaja performed in all conditions with a career-best knock of 195 not out in Sydney against South Africa and 180 in Ahmedabad against India.

His 141 and 65 in the first Test of the Ashes series in Birmingham were pivotal in setting up a two-wicket win for Australia.

The 37-year-old finished the Ashes series with 496 runs where his class and grit proved crucial in Australia retaining the urn.

Ash Gardner
Ash Gardner missed out on the ICC women’s cricketer of the year award. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS)

Khawaja told AAP recently that his competitive drive to keep playing Test cricket burned as brightly as it did when he was a youngster.

It is why he has not placed a timeline on when he will bring an end to his red-ball career, despite his good friend David Warner’s recent decision to do so.

“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.

“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.”