SURREY County Cricket Club batsman Rory Burns is the winner of the 2013 LV= County Championship Breakthrough Player Award, following in the footsteps of Yorkshire's Joe Root who won the award in its inaugural year last season. Launched by County Championship title sponsors, LV=, the award is intended to recognise the most promising young talent under the age of 24 competing in the domestic competition. Burns was one of six players shortlisted for this year's award, as selected by a panel of judges including former England captain and current managing director of partnerships at the ECB, Mike Gatting and PCA chairman Mark Wallace. Competition for the award came from Yorkshire's Gary Ballance, Durham leg spinner Scott Borthwick, Leicestershire's Shiv Thakor, Sussex batsman Luke Wells and Northamptonshire bowler David Willey. At the Oval today, 23-year-old Burns was presented with his award by Mike Gatting. As part of his award, Burns also nominated the Tom Maynard Trust to receive a £1,000 donation from LV=, as part of their commitment to nurturing the next generation of cricketers. It has not been the best week for Surrey after their relegation to Division Two of the County Championship was confirmed on Friday, but Burns, who also plays for Banstead, was pleased to pick up the award. "I am genuinely surprised to have won the award and it is a real honour to have been voted for by so many cricket fans," he said. "The other nominees are all players I really admire so to win the award is a huge achievement and one that I am very proud of. "I have really enjoyed my first full season of first class cricket, I feel I have made some useful contributions and I am looking forward to building on my performances next season. "I would like thank Surrey for giving me the opportunity over the past twelve months to open the batting in the LV=County Championship and I must also thank all the Surrey members and supporters that voted for me." Commenting on the award, Mike Gatting said: "Rory has had a great season for Surrey and is fully deserving of the LV= County Championship Breakthrough Player of the Year Award. "Competition for the award this year was strong, and it is encouraging to see thousands of county cricket fans supporting the young players coming through the County Championship. "Rory has a bright future, and he should be congratulated on receiving this special award."
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