Cricket star earns city's keys

EASTERN Heights’ star Shane Watson will be handed the keys to the city of Ipswich after he confirmed his status as the region’s greatest cricketer by winning back-to-back Allan Border Medals.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said he would hand Watson the keys to the city in June after the cricket World Cup in India.

Pisasale said he had already spoken to Watson about giving him the well-deserved honour when the 29-year-old visited his home town in late January to assist flood victims.

“He is a great ambassador for the city and what better way to show how much we appreciate his efforts than by handing him the keys to our city,” Cr Pisasale said.

“He is a real hero for what he did for people in Ipswich who were devastated after the floods.”

Watson left his team-mates in his wake to grab his second successive Allan Border Medal on Monday night.

The all-rounder won by an amazing 100 votes to join his skipper Ricky Ponting as the only winners of back-to-back Border medals.

Watson amassed 295 votes, with Mike Hussey runner-up on 195.

He thanked his parents Bob and Barbara, who flew down for the ceremony, in his acceptance speech.

Watson’s former representative coach for several years, Les Kinnane, said his prodigy was always destined to become a cricketing star.

“I’m still good friends with Shane and he still has that same determination he had when he was 11-years-old,” Kinnane said.

“I knew he would go far because he had the right attitude even before he was a teenager.”

Watson had to overcome eight back-injury plagued years to become the cricketer he is now.

Kinnane coached Watson in Met West teams and was there when his back first twisted.

“It was the State titles and he was only 12 and his back went during a game. It haunted him for another 12 years,” Kinnane said.

Watson leaves for India at the end of this week.

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