Cricket Australia backs down on Man of the Match
Doug Bracewell's snubbing as Man of the Match in Hobart has forced Cricket Australia to back down on its controversial viewer-voting system. The decision on who should be the Man of the Match will revert to an expert panel after David Warner was given the award for his century at Bellerive Oval, despite Bracewell's match-winning fourth-day spell.
Cricket Australia used the New Zealand series to trial a system in which the public could vote for the official Man of the Match using a mobile phone application. James Pattinson's win in Brisbane was not contentious, but the overwhelming support for Warner - he polled 58% in Hobart to Bracewell's 27% - left the New Zealanders rightly affronted.
"We were always running a bit of a trial for these two Tests with those Man of the Match awards but we will definitely revert back to an expert's choice for that decision about man of the match," Sutherland said on the Melbourne radio station 3AW. However, he was keen to see the continuation of the viewer's choice application, which he called "ahead of its time", in other ways
Bracewell finished with match figures of 9 for 60 and clearly altered the course of the match on the fourth day, when he collected three wickets in nine balls to demolish Australia's middle order and set New Zealand on the path to their first Test win in Australia in 26 years. The New Zealand assistant coach, Trent Woodhill, said the decision was obviously wrong.
"It's embarrassing. David Warner had a fantastic innings. He batted all the way through the innings," Woodhill told Radio Sport. "Doug Bracewell was the player of that match. He took nine wickets for 60, if it wasn't for him we wouldn't have won the match. To me that's who the player of the match should be."
It was not surprising that the public-voting system was controversial - there was always the risk that Australian fans would vote overwhelmingly for Australian players regardless of the result of the game. The traditional method of selecting the Man of the Match, via expert opinion, will resume for the upcoming Test series against India.