Melbourne: Cricket Australia has renamed its top annual award for best performer in Test cricket in honour of the late spin legend, Shane Warne.
The Shane Warne Men’s Test Player of the Year award will be presented annually at the Australian Cricket Awards and will be positioned as the second-most prestigious award for men behind the Allan Border Medal, given to the top performer of the year across all formats.
The renaming of the award was announced here on Monday on the opening day of the traditional Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against South Africa when tributes were paid to the iconic leg-spinner who died of a suspected heart attack on March 4, 2022, while on holiday at the island Ko Samui in Thailand.
“As one of Australia’s all-time greats, it is fitting we acknowledge Shane’s extraordinary contribution to test cricket by naming this award in his honour in perpetuity,” said CA chief executive Nick Hockley on the occasion.
“Shane was a proud advocate of test cricket and you only have to look around at all the fans who came out to the MCG in their floppy hats and zinc on Boxing Day to realise what a profound impact he had on the game.”
“The whole cricket community continues to mourn his loss and our thoughts, as always, are with Shane’s family and friends, particularly his children Brooke, Jackson and Summer.”
The announcement comes just ahead of Cricket Austria’s awards, including the Allan Border Medal for en and Belinda Clark Women’s award, which will be presented on January 30.
Warne played 145 tests between 1992-2007 and his 708 wickets were the record until he was passed by Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.
Also on Monday, “Warnie 350” — the spin legend’s Test cap number — was stencilled onto the MCG turf with a family member of the late star present in the crowd.
On the occasion, Australian Cricket Association CEO, Todd Greenberg said: “I’m proud that the ACA, along with Cricket Australia, is able to recognise the incredible impact Shane had on Test cricket with an award named in his honour.
“While he was a once-in-a-generation player, he was very much a man who understood the important contribution all players made to Australian cricket. He played an important role in the formative years of the ACA and never knocked back an opportunity to promote and grow the game and once they came, nobody knew how to put on a show quite like Warney – particularly here at the MCG.
“Our thoughts remain with Shane’s family, particularly his children Brooke, Jackson and Summer, and his many, many great friends within cricket.”
The Australian Cricket Awards are held on an annual basis to celebrate the performances of Australian players across national and domestic cricket.