Less than a year after completing the ban for his role in the ball-tampering scandal, David Warner was crowned the Allan Border medalist despite his horror Ashes series while Ellyse Perry took the Belinda Clark medal at the annual Australian Cricket Awards in Melbourne.
Warner, who became clearly emotional during his acceptance speech, pipped Steven Smith by one vote (194 to 193) and Pat Cummins to the main men's award following a prolific World Cup campaign and outstanding home summer which included his first Test triple century against Pakistan in Adelaide.
The awards for international cricket are based on votes from players, umpires and the media on a 3-2-1 basis from each match for the period January 8, 2019 to January 9, 2020.
Those performances on either side of the Ashes, which included impressive T20I returns which earned Warner that honour as well, were enough to counter an England series where he made just 95 runs in 10 innings. Over the voting period, Warner was Australia's leading cross-format run-scorer with 1815 (881 in Tests, 647 in ODIs and 287 in T20Is). He had previously won the Allan Border Medal in 2016 and 2017.
"I'm taken aback by this It's been quite challenging," he said as his voice cracked. "It's hard to put a finger on where I should start. But as I said before, I want to thank Cricket Australia for that opportunity. The work that you guys did…I think was absolutely fantastic and I thank you again for that.
"I want to really thank my home club team at Randwick-Petersham for giving me that opportunity to go out there and play grade cricket. I realised a lot of things during that time off that we don't actually understand or realise when we're in this bubble, the importance of what this game is and the smiles on the faces that we bring to a lot of people.
"It's just been remarkable to come back. With the World Cup, to not go the whole way was disappointing. The Ashes, retaining that was fantastic -- I obviously didn't turn up and I apologise for that -- but I really had the hunger and determination to come back and do the best for our team. To come back and have a summer like that and just contribute, it really put a smile on my face -- and I hope it did for you guys as well."
Perry, who had also previously won the Belinda Clark medal twice, took the major women's award ahead of Alyssa Healy - who claimed the ODI and T20I titles - with her standout performance in the Ashes Test, where she scored 116 and 76 not, being a key part of her year which also saw her take 7 for 22 in the third ODI of the multi-point Ashes series which Australia won comfortably. Across all formats, Perry scored 783 runs at 97.87 and took 28 wickets at 16.50.
"It's actually a huge surprise," Perry said, "especially considering how successful the team has been this year but also the outstanding individual performances, none more so than Midgy [Healy], but it's been a really special 12 months, one which we'll all savour for a long time to come. The most exciting thing is every 12 months we have seems to get bigger and better and new things come our way so a very special time to be involved."
The other main winners in the men's awards were Marnus Labuschagne, who took the Test player title after his magnificent run since coming into the team as a concussion sub for Smith at Lord's, and Aaron Finch who was named ODI player of the year after making 1141 runs at 51.86 with four centuries.
Full list of awards
Allan Border Medal: David Warner
Belinda Clark Medal: Ellyse Perry
Men's Test player: Marnus Labuschagne
Men's ODI player: Aaron Finch
Men's T20I player: David Warner
Men's domestic player: Shaun Marsh
Men's Young player: Wes Agar
Women's ODI player: Alyssa Healy
Women's T20 player: Alyssa Healy
Women's domestic player: Molly Strano
Women's young plaer: Tayla Vlaeminck
Community champion: Corinne Hall