Pat Cummins’ turn to host the Australian Cricket Awards has been panned by fans after the Test skipper struggled with a shambolic opening to the ceremony alongside his women’s counterpart Meg Lanning.
The awards night, previously known as the Allan Border Medal night until 2018, was widely panned for its amateur production and corny speeches.
It all came down to a star-studded affair with Cummins and Lanning charged with MC duties to kick off proceedings.
In the opener Cummins started talking about fast bowler Scott Boland’s impact in the Test arena and tried to joke after batsman Usman Khawaja declared himself ‘the people’s champion’.
Cummins acknowledged the public push for a statue of Boland at the MCG.
‘I know the MCG crowd would love to see that,’ he said.
‘Sorry, Uzzie, there’s only one champion of the people, it’s Scotty Boland.’
His attempt at a joke was met with gentle laughter, but it only got worse from there.
Cummins was disheartened and unable to continue speaking, which got a better response from the crowd than his joke.
As he laughs, Lanning tries to control the proceedings – with limited success.
‘Is it my turn?’ he asked.
‘It’s actually my turn to speak. Just, really, good luck to everyone tonight, I hope you have a good night and I hope you’re happy.’
Cummins managed to regain his composure and added: ‘There are too many of us leading up to this. Let’s start the night. Thank you.’
Cummins and wife Becky Boston arriving at the 2023 Australia Cricket Awards at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney
Lanning impressed on the blue carpet but was unable to translate into success as co-MC with Cummins. Lanning was named runner up for the Belinda Clark Award
‘Lucky nobody’s watching,’ exclaimed one viewer on Twitter.
‘For all the money you’re paying them, at least send them to a public speaking course,’ posted another.
‘Oh dear… the lack of professionalism and not quite funny… it’s like the nutter who laughs at his own jokes that aren’t even funny,’ another commenter wrote.
Even Cricket Australia has been eyeing the pair, posting a video with the caption: ‘Did these two go to rehearsal?’
Cummins and Lanning set the tone for the night, which didn’t improve after their early stumble.
Shane Warne Men’s Test Player of the Year Usman Khawaja was impressive when it came time for him to speak at the awards night.
Scott Boland and wife Daphne on the blue carpet. Boland was a popular choice for Test player of the year by fans after bursting onto the scene in The Ashes
Khawaja and wife Rachel also grabbed the limelight on the blue carpet in their stunning outfits
One fan actually thanked Cricket Australia for sharing the results online so they didn’t have to endure the coverage.
‘Thank you. Beats having to watch the rather painful trial. Such a shame, the original AB medal nights were quite entertaining,’ they posted.
Others also lined up for the amateur proceedings to last.
‘These Australian Cricket awards seem so rushed and thrown together, it’s almost unwatchable,’ one viewer posted.
‘Why do you want to watch?’ asked one.
‘I wish @Channel7 invested in some better hosts, scriptwriters and directors. This #AustralianCricketAwards is next-level amateurish. The whole thing looks like a bloopers reel. Cringeworthy,’ added another.
However, special praise is reserved for the inaugural Shane Warne Men’s Test Player of the Year award-winner Usman Khawaja.
Usman Khawaja’s very emotional (and very funny) speech as the inaugural Shane Warne Test player of the year winner at the Australian Cricket Awards,’ one fan posted.