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Thanks, Warnie! Starc claims shock Allan Border Medal win

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29th January, 2022
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Mitchell Starc’s excellent Ashes return to form has been given the ultimate reward, the fast bowler claiming a shock Allan Border Medal.

Starc polled 107 votes across Test, ODI and T20I matches during the voting period, to win the award by a solitary vote over Mitchell Marsh.

Australia’s relative lack of cricket throughout 2021 saw Travis Head finish third with 72 votes, despite playing just four times in the voting period – all Ashes Tests.

Starc’s maiden gong comes after heading into the summer with question marks over his place in Australia’s Test team. Conceding 0-60 off four overs in the T20 World Cup final, when he was taken to the cleaners by New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, didn’t help his case.

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Most notable among his critics was Shane Warne, the legendary leg-spinner arguing that Starc was ‘nowhere’ throughout the T20 World Cup, and calling for him to be replaced for the Ashes by Jhye Richardson.

But the left-armer found form to play a key role in Australia’s 4-0 Ashes triumph, playing all five Tests – the only Aussie quick to do so – and claiming 19 wickets at 25.37, behind only captain Pat Cummins.

His dismissal of England opener Rory Burns with the first ball of the series at the Gabba has quickly been recognised as an iconic Ashes moment.

Cummins was quick to praise his fellow paceman for the gong, lauding his teammate’s ‘skill, perseverance [and] competitiveness’ in a social media post.

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For the second year in a row, COVID-19 protocols meant the traditional medal ceremony was unable to take place, with most Australian players still under strict quarantine conditions ahead of upcoming international matches and following the finish to the Big Bash League season.

Key to Starc’s victory was also his performance in an off-Broadway ODI series against the West Indies, in which Australia fielded a largely second-string XI. He took eleven wickets, including five in the series opener, as Australia went down 4-1.

That effort was enough to secure Starc the award for ODI Player of the Year as well. Head claimed the Test best award for his player of the series heroics in the Ashes, the only Tests played during the voting period, while also named Men’s Domestic Player of the Year for an outstanding start to the summer with South Australia across first-class and 50-over formats.

Marsh’s breakout T20I season, culminating in his player of the match honours in the T20 World Cup final, saw him named Men’s T20 Player of the Year. He scored 627 runs from 21 matches, including 185 at 61.67 at the prestige tournament in the UAE.

Starc is just the fifth fast bowler to win the gong since it was first awarded in 2000, following in the footsteps of Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson and Pat Cummins.

Ash Gardner became the first Indigenous player to claim a major Cricket Australia accolade, winning the Belinda Clark Award for women’s cricketer of the year.

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With the women’s side only playing one Test, six ODIs and six T20Is during the period, Gardner’s 54 votes saw her finish narrowly ahead of runners-up Beth Mooney (47 votes) and Alyssa Healy (39).

The ongoing women’s Ashes Test between Australia and England was not included in the voting process.

Men’s head coach Justin Langer was reward for an outstanding contribution to Australian cricket by being inducted to the Hall of Fame, as was women’s cricket trailblazer Raelee Thompson.

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Full list of awards

Allan Border Medal: Mitchell Starc

Men’s Test Player of the Year: Travis Head

Men’s ODI Player of the Year: Mitchell Starc

Men’s T20I Player of the Year: Mitchell Marsh

Men’s Domestic Player of the Year: Travis Head

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Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year: Tim Ward

Belinda Clark Award: Ashleigh Gardner

Women’s ODI Player of the Year: Alyssa Healy

Women’s T20I Player of the Year: Beth Mooney

Women’s Domestic Player of the Year: Elyse Villani

Betty Wilson Young Cricketer of the Year: Darcie Brown

Community Impact Award: Zoe Cooke

Australian Cricket Hall of Fame inductees: Justin Langer and Raelee Thompson

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