T20 Player of the Year Shane Watson poses for a photograph with his award at the Allan Border Medal award ceremony in Sydney
T20 Player of the Year Shane Watson poses for a photograph with his award at the Allan Border Medal award ceremony in Sydney PAUL MILLER

Retired Watson claims T20 gong on awards night

CRICKET: Anyone more interested in the Australian Open would have missed the broadcast of Australian cricket's night of nights, the Allan Border Medal, on Monday.

You may have heard in a morning news report opening batsman David Warner claimed back-to-back medals after another dominant year with the willow.

But perhaps the most headscratching moment of the night went largely under the radar - the return of whipping boy Shane Watson to the spotlight.

There wasn't anyone in the room at Star Sydney more surprised than Watto when he was announced as Australia's Twenty20 International Player of the Year.

That's right, a man who retired way back in March last year added one final international trophy to a cabinet that is bulging with them. So how did it happen?

Firstly, a quirk in the calendar saw Watson play in nine of the 12 T20 internationals Australia featured in during the qualifying dates (January 8 to January 7). He finished as our second-highest leading runscorer behind Glenn Maxwell with 298 runs at an average of 49.6 and a strikerate above 150.

Secondly, his value as an all-rounder makes him a vote-pulling machine. Don't forget, this is a man who won the second of his two Allan Border medals in 2011 by a record margin of 100 votes in a year he scored just one Test century and made one ODI score higher than 64.

Australia's Shane Watson runs to make it to the crease during their ICC World Twenty20 2016 cricket match against Bangladesh in Bangalore
Australia's Shane Watson runs to make it to the crease during their ICC World Twenty20 2016 cricket match against Bangladesh in Bangalore Aijaz Rahi

Watson took nine T20 wickets at an average of 21.8 last year, and an economy rate of just over seven runs an over further strengthened his case.

But you only have to see his reaction in the video below to see what a shock this was.

"I was very surprised,” Watson said. "No, I wasn't expecting to win. Even seeing the highlights ... of the game against India seems like at least a couple of years ago. to think it was in this period of time was a surprise, that's for sure.”

It was the third time Watson had claimed the T20 player of the year, adding to a list of gongs which also includes two Allan Border medals (2010 and 2011), Test Player of the Year (2011), ODI Player of the Year (2010, 2011, 2012), and Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year (2002).

But Watson won't be adding to the haul, insisting his days at international level are done despite another strong season in the Big Bash League.

Warner fought off a strong challenge from his captain Steve Smith to become just the fourth player to win back-to-back Allan Border Medals, after Watson, Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke.



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