Usman Khawaja beats Ravichandran Ashwin to win ICC Men's Test Cricketer of the Year 2023

Published - 25 Jan 2024, 06:28 PM | Updated - 12 Jun 2024, 11:44 AM

Usman Khawaja, AB de Villiers
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Australian opening batter Usman Khawaja has been named the ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Year for 2023 for his extraordinary year-round performance in the longest format of the game. Khawaja has been experiencing quite a tough battle with the International Cricket Council of late but the latest award will definitely make him feel good.

Usman Khawaja had a lengthy and prolonged dispute with ICC on his wish to put on human rights symbols on his bat and shoes during Australia’s previous 3-match Test series against Pakistan at home. The ICC had denied his request for doing so and stated that conveying personal, political, or religious messages through equipment or clothes is not allowed.

In response, Khawaja would put out a video on Instagram that depicted players like Nicholas Pooran, Marnus Labuschagne, and Keshav Maharaj, all displaying personal or religious symbols on their bats and Khawaja was certainly confused by the ICC’s decision.

His captain Pat Cummins among other teammates came out on his support and claimed that Usman Khawaja was right to do so as it was his own personal belief. Usman Khawaja had asked the ICC if he could put a symbol of Dove and Olive tree branch on his shoes as a sign of human rights and war killings around the world.

Cricket Australia chief Nick Hockley had also come to his support and stated that, “The symbol of the dove is an universally recognised symbol of peace. That being said, the ICC have got their rules and think they explained their rationale really clearly and we respect that.”

Then after the conclusion of the Test series, Khawaja would don the logo on his shoes when he took part in the Big Bash League 2023/24 edition for eventual champions Brisbane Heat after the country’s apex board approved his wish at least in the domestic circuit.

Amid Tension, ICC Nods Usman Khawaja For Splendid Year In Tests

The ICC and Usman Khwaja were dealing with a tense relationship but the latter becoming the Test cricketer of the year, shrugged off all doubts related to the matter. It also proved that the ICC awards are relevant and are totally based on cricketing merits.

He was among the shortlisted players like India’s all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin, England’s top order batter Joe Root, and his own teammate Travis Head. However, the ICC felt that Usman Khawaja had an overall better season than any of his counterparts, a year which also included the 2nd final of the World Test Championship which Australia won by defeating India at Oval.

Usman Khawaja scored 1210 runs in 13 Tests last year at an exceptional average of 52.60 with a best of 195 not out against South Africa. He started the year 2023 with a fantastic 333 runs across the 4-match Test series in the Border-Gavaskar trophy in India.

His 333 runs ended up making him the highest run-getter of the series which remained a 2-2 draw. Khawaja also scored 3 centuries and 6 half-centuries last year and played a key role in the team’s success in the 2021-2023 WTC cycle.

Tagged:

Australia National Cricket Team ICC ICC World Test Championship (WTC) Usman Khawaja ICC Men's CWC Challenge League A ICC Men's CWC Challenge League Group A ICC Men's World Cup Warm-Up Matches