Melbourne, Feb.16 (ANI): Australian all-rounder Shane Watson says that this summer has been once dreamy sequence of success on the field, reaching its peak on Monday night with him winning the coveted Allan Border Medal and being declared the best one-day Australian player of the year.
"For me this summer has been something I have only ever dreamed of, to get the opportunity that I did during the Ashes was something I looked forward to, to put my hand up and put in some good performances and to be able to continue that through this summer has been something, as I said, I have only ever dreamed of," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted 28-year-old Watson, as saying.
"Obviously it is an amazing honour to win the Allan Border Medal, but to be able to turn my fortunes around a little bit over the last six to eight months is something I have found very satisfying," he added.
This time last year Watson was not even in the Test team, having succumbed to stress fractures of the back during the Boxing Day Test against South Africa. He suffered a frustrating calf strain on the eve of the Ashes and did not play until the third Test at Edgbaston, where he controversially replaced the axed Phillip Hughes as an opening batsman.
He has not looked back since, plundering 849 runs in nine Tests at an average of 56.6 and taking 13 wickets at 29.6.
He also broke through for his maiden Test century in Melbourne after a series of near misses during a summer that encapsulated the agony and the ecstasy of being Shane Watson. He was dismissed three times in the 90s and, during the heated Perth Test against the West Indies, was fined a portion of his match fee for jumping up and down in the personal space of Chris Gayle after dismissing the touring captain. Gayle said he expected nothing less of the emotional cricketer.
Watson is the first all-rounder to win the medal and he upstaged Mitchell Johnson and Michael Clarke, who both played all the Tests in the voting period, for the major award at Crown's Palladium ballroom.
He breaks the stranglehold on the medal held by captain Ricky Ponting and his deputy, Clarke, who had won five of the previous six awards between them.
Michael Klinger's decision to leave Victoria for South Australia continues to pay handsome dividends, for the batsman last night was named state cricketer of the year for the second consecutive year.
Darren Lehmann is the only other player to receive the award twice.
Shelley Nitschke was crowned women's international cricketer of the year for the second year in a row and received the award from retired captain and fellow South Australian Karen Rolton.
Victorian all-rounder John Hastings was declared the Bradman young-cricketer-of-the-year. (ANI)