David Warner. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)
David Warner. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

‘Horrendous’: Warner’s win stuns cricket

AN emotional David Warner has completed a stunning return to international cricket by claiming his third Allan Border Medal, finishing a single vote ahead of Steve Smith.

The pair were banned from representing Australia for a year after the 2018 sandpaper scandal, only returning in June to the national set-up.

Prolific performances in the World Cup and Australia's home Test summer allowed Warner (194) to edge out Smith (193) in Monday night's thrilling count at Melbourne's Crown Palladium.

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Last year's medallist Pat Cummins (185) capped off a consistent 12 months across all formats to round out the top three.

Warner's triumph goes with his AB medals from 2016 and 2017, with the three victories putting him in rare company, only one behind four-time winners Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke.

But cricket observers in Australia and England couldn't help but wonder how he did it given the giant Ashes hole on his 2019 resume.

Warner was dominated so badly by English quick Stuart Broad in the five-Test series some were fearing his career was over.

The 33-year-old conceded he thought it would stop him claiming top honours.

"I had an absolutely horrendous Ashes. I didn't really think I was a chance," Warner said.

But his win still delivered the feels. Warner became emotional when delivering his acceptance speech, especially when it came to mentioning his family and wife Candice.

"There were a few tough times there, with me and my wife (Candice) having two miscarriages - there were a lot of things going on in my life away from cricket that I had to work on," Warner said.

"Not having cricket there, I had to work out what was going to be the best for me."

He then began the thank yous and battled to keep it together.

"I'm obviously taken aback by this, it's been quite challenging …" he said. "It's hard to put a finger on where I should start but I thank Cricket Australia for the opportunity. Belinda Clark, Kevin Roberts, Justin Langer - really working your backsides off to reintegrate us back into the cricketing family … I thank you again for that.

"The way Finchy and Painey accepted us and were always in contact with us. And I really want to thank my home club team Randwick-Petersham for giving me the opportunity to go out there and play grade cricket. I realised a lot of things in that time off we don't actually understand or realise when were in this bubble the importance of the smiles on the faces we bring to people.

"To go back there and be able to be reintegrated into grassroots, go back to grade cricket and put smiles onto people's faces that way, it helped me to get to where I am today. Because without that, getting cricket taken away from you, something I've always dreamt off, it really really hurt.

"My mum and dad, I know I've let you down a lot in the past but you always stick by my side and I really appreciate that, and my brother.

"My wife, my rock, I don't know what could ever break you, you're absolutely fantastic, you're an inspiration not just to me but to the girls. It's hard for a man to stand up here and say a lot of nice words about people but you always seem to bring the best out of me and the kindness of my heart. I can't thank you enough for what you do for me and our family. I love you dearly."

David Warner kisses his wife Candice after winning the Allan Border Medal. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)
David Warner kisses his wife Candice after winning the Allan Border Medal. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Australian cricket's other highest individual honour went to star women's all-rounder Ellyse Perry, who picked up her third Belinda Clark Award with 161 votes.

Perry's dominant Ashes series skyrocketed her eight votes in front of last year's winner Alyssa Healy (153), with Jess Jonassen third on 89. "I'm incredibly flattered. You look at the contributions across the squad in the last 12 months, it's been incredible from so many players," Perry said. "It's always lovely to know you've had an impact." Warner also picked up the Twenty20 international honour, while Marnus Labuschange was rewarded for his stunning consistency since the Ashes Lord's match to win his maiden Test player of the year award.

Limited-overs captain Aaron Finch (38 votes) finished ahead of axed batsman Usman Khawaja (33) for the ODI player of the year.

Warner's success caps off a significant redemption tale, with the aggressive opening batsman banned by Cricket Australia from holding a leadership position after the Cape Town ball-tampering saga.

The 33-year-old plundered bowling attacks during the World Cup, finishing with 647 runs at an average of 71.88, one run behind Indian opener Rohit Sharma for the leading scorer of the tournament.

Warner struggled during Australia's retention of the Ashes, before making up for it with a dominant home summer, highlighted by a record-breaking 335 not out against Pakistan at Adelaide Oval.

Smith was the opposite, as he was untouchable against England with 774 runs from only four Tests, but below his absolute best on return to Australian shores and failed to score a century across five Tests.

In other awards, former Australian batsman Shaun Marsh took out the men's domestic player of the year and Wes Agar picked up the Bradman young cricketer.

Elysse Perry poses with David Warner. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)
Elysse Perry poses with David Warner. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

WINNERS AT THE AUSTRALIAN CRICKET AWARDS

Allan Border Medal: David Warner

Belinda Clark Award: Ellyse Perry

Test player of the year: Marnus Labuschagne

One-day international player of the year: Aaron Finch

T20 international player of the year: David Warner

Women's ODI player of the year: Alyssa Healy

Women's T20 international player of the year: Alyssa Healy

Domestic players of the year: Shaun Marsh and Molly Strano

Bradman young men's cricketer: Wes Agar

Betty Wilson young women's cricketer: Tayla Vlaeminck


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