Mitchell Starc, Ashleigh Gardner claim top honours at Australian Cricket Awards;
All-rounder Ashleigh Gardner and prolific fast bowler Mitchell Starc are maiden Belinda Clark and Allan Border medallists respectively, having been awarded the top honours in Australian cricket.
“Both are first-time recipients of their respective accolade as voted by their peers, umpires, and the media across all forms and every game of international cricket over the past 12 months,” stated an official release.
Gardner’s ultra-consistent season with both bat and ball was fittingly rewarded with the Belinda Clark Award. Across 10 innings Gardner struck 281 runs at an average of 35.1 that included four half-centuries and a top score of 73 not out in a memorable T20 win against New Zealand in Hamilton.
A valuable asset in the field, Gardner’s off-spin broke through for nine wickets, two shy of Sophie Molineux’s year-leading 11. The quintessential allrounder, Gardner finished the voting period inside Australia’s top three run-scorers and top five wicket-takers across all formats. Gardner won her first Belinda Clark Award with 54 votes from Beth Mooney (47) and Alyssa Healy (39) who finished second and third respectively in the voting.
Starc has enjoyed a sensational year of international cricket and captured a combined 43 wickets at an average of 24.4 across all formats, 12 clear of the nation’s next best. The left-arm quick was crowned the Male ODI Player of the Year following dominant performances in the three-match series against the West Indies which included a haul of 5-48 in the opening game.
One of the best pink-ball bowlers in the game, Starc thrived in the Ashes series and amassed 19 wickets at 25.36 with a best of 4-37 in the first innings of the Day-Night Test in Adelaide. Starc also scored 241 runs across all formats at an average of 26.8 to sit inside Australia’s top 10 run-scorers over the past 12 months.
Starc (107 votes) outpolled T20 World Cup hero Mitchell Marsh (106) by a single vote to win the Allan Border Medal. While batter Travis Head was third in the polling with 72 votes.
For the third consecutive year, Healy claimed top honours as the Female One-Day International Player of the Year with 13 votes. Ahead of Rachael Haynes (10) and Megan Schutt (10). Top-order batter Mooney took out the Female T20 Player of the Year. With 13 votes, ahead of Tahlia McGrath (10) and Gardner (6).
South Australian batsman Head’s outstanding Ashes Series secured him the Male Test Player of the Year. It is the latest in a string of honours for Head this summer, who crowned the Miller/Compton Medallist. As Player of the Series in Australia’s victorious Ashes campaign.
The left-hander struck 357 runs at an average of 59.50 in the Ashes. And, alongside Usman Khawaja, was the only player to register multiple centuries in the series. All-rounder Marsh (53 votes) capped a stellar year. After being voted the Male T20 International Player of the Year. Ahead of Josh Hazlewood (29) and Ashton Agar (26).
Marsh compiled 627 runs at 36.9 during the voting period. And was instrumental in Australia’s first-ever victorious T20 World Cup campaign. After scoring an unbeaten 77 from 50 balls to named Player of the Match in the final.
Elyse Villani and Darcie Brown took the prized Female Domestic Player of the Year. And Betty Wilson Young Cricketer of the Year awards respectively. Villani scored four centuries and 1,050 runs in 21 games at an average of 61.8. While Brown’s 30 wickets across all competitions during the voting period reinforced her enormous potential.
South Australian captain Head also voted Male Domestic Player of the Year. With 902 runs at 50.1 in all forms of the game. While Tim Ward named the Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year. For his 506 runs at 46 throughout the year.
ACT Meteor Zoe Cooke named Community Champion for her work to support. And promote and advocate for the women’s game in the ACT. Through coaching and mentoring roles, particularly in the pathway system.