Allan Border Medal 2012-13

Clarke wins fourth Allan Border Medal

Brydon Coverdale

February 4, 2013

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Michael Clarke celebrates another century, Australia v South Africa, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 1st day, November 22, 2012
It was another outstanding year for Michael Clarke © Getty Images
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The rise and rise of captain Michael Clarke continued in Melbourne on Monday night when he won his fourth Allan Border Medal and was named Australia's Test Player of the Year. Clarke also won the double last year, capping off his first 12 months as Australia's leader in all formats, and his second year in charge was just as impressive. The other major winners from the evening were Clint McKay, who won his first One-Day International Player of the Year title, and Shane Watson, the Twenty20 International Player of the Year.

In the Allan Border Medal count, Clarke finished on 198 votes, well clear of Watson and the retiring Michael Hussey, who were in joint second place with 165 votes each. David Warner was fourth with 148 votes, Mitchell Starc fifth with 122 votes and Australia's Twenty20 captain George Bailey sixth with 116 votes, despite only playing the short formats. The win added to Clarke's previous triumphs in 2005, 2009 and 2012 and he joined Ricky Ponting as the only men to have taken home four Allan Border Medals.

Clarke had another remarkable year in Test cricket, scoring 1080 runs at an average of 77.14 during the voting period, which ran from February 25 last year to January 28 this year. His high point was when he scored consecutive double-centuries against South Africa, with 259 not out at the Gabba followed by 230 in Adelaide. The third of his hundreds during the voting period was 106 against Sri Lanka during the Boxing Day Test. It continued his incredible form since taking over the leadership from Ponting: as full-time captain Clarke has averaged 72.48.

Despite the fact that the year brought Clarke's first series defeat as captain, the 1-0 loss to South Africa, his team still won more than they lost during the voting period. They beat West Indies 2-0 in the Caribbean and enjoyed a 3-0 clean-sweep against Sri Lanka, but Clarke knows that such wins will be quickly forgotten if the coming year, which features a tour of India and back-to-back Ashes contests, does not bring success.

The runner-up in the Test Player of the Year category was Hussey, who scored 746 runs at an average of 57.38 and was second on the run tally behind Clarke, while Matthew Wade, who at the start of the voting period had not even played Test cricket, was third. Clarke finished on 22 votes, with Hussey on 15 and Wade on 12. Surprisingly given he spent most of the year out of the Test side and played only three Tests during the home summer, Mitchell Johnson came fourth with 11 votes.

In another surprise, the under-rated seamer McKay was named One-Day International Player of the Year, narrowly beating Bailey and Warner. McKay finished with 30 votes, Bailey and Warner were equal second with 28 votes and David Hussey finished in fourth place with 27 votes. Watson was fifth with 23 votes.

During the voting period, McKay was Australia's leading ODI wicket taker with 26 victims at 25.76. He was Man of the Match in the deciding third final of the Commonwealth Bank Series last summer, when he collected 5 for 28 against Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval, and he was also Australia's best bowler during their disappointing series in England in June and July.

"Clint certainly knows how important he is to me and the team. I've made that very clear to him," Clarke said of McKay. "He has become one of our top one-day bowlers in the Australian team, no matter who's available to play. Clint in the past 12 months has been our first-picked one-day bowler.

"I think his execution, not only with the new ball but at the death, is something that not many bowlers can do. His consistency day in day out, into the breeze, down breeze, open the bowling, bowl second change, it doesn't bother him. Clint is a great example of one of the players I always want in this Australian team because he'll do whatever it takes for the team first and himself second."

McKay broke the winning streak of Watson, who had taken out the past three ODI Player of the Year awards, and it was a good reward for a sometimes under-valued member of the side. Since his one-day international debut in 2009, McKay has collected 68 wickets at 21.91; only Mitchell Johnson with 73 has claimed more one-day victims for Australia during that time.

In the T20 category, Watson was a clear winner with 42 votes, ahead of Warner on 29 and the captain Bailey on 16. Watson's award was not surprising given his remarkable performances at the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka last year. He was not only the leading run scorer during the tournament, with 249 at an average of 49.80, he was also second on the competition wicket tally with 11 victims at an average of 16, behind only Sri Lanka's Ajantha Mendis.

During the voting period, Watson was Australia's leading T20 run scorer with 406 at an average of 40.60 and the leading wicket taker with 17 at 15.82. The T20 award was first handed out in 2011, when David Hussey was the recipient, and Watson picked up the prize in 2012.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by xylo on (February 5, 2013, 19:42 GMT)

Is it that Clarke has stood head and shoulders above the rest, or is it that the rest have just not stepped up? If it is the former, we should be happy. If not, we should be really scared!!

Posted by   on (February 5, 2013, 11:08 GMT)

@landl47 .... Clarke's Captaincy was outstanding in 2012.

And of course there was the ODI Series in England where he almost captained Australia to a 4-0 thumping of England .... but unfortunately he only sometime almost came reasonably close to winning each game!!! Well he almost won one game ..... but I am sure that he could have almost surely come closer on the game that was washed out.

Posted by   on (February 5, 2013, 11:02 GMT)

@landl47 .... Clarke's Captaincy was outstanding in 2012.

And what about the tour of West Indies .... what captancy what strategy!!! In the 1st innings when chasing 449 he led the team to 7/250, lulling them into the old trap of over confidence knowing full well that the last two wickets would score 156 runs. Then just as Harris was about to top score for the innings and Lyon a half century .... he stunned the WI and declared knowing full well that Harris couldn't open the bowling

Then in the 2nd Innings to unselfishly scored only 6 of the 192 runs to leave Hussey to score 32 off 26 balls in the final overs and allow the bowlers to claim the winning runs in the dark

It worked so well he tried it again in the 3rd Test and led Australia to 7/169. This unselfish plan allowed Wade to score his maiden century as the last 3 wickets took the score to 328. He must have been most upset when the plan didn't work in the 2nd Innings when he left at 5/171 though Starc and Lyon still managed 22

Posted by   on (February 5, 2013, 10:24 GMT)

@landl47 .... Clarke's Captaincy was outstanding in 2012.

Then there was the 2nd Test against SA. He almost lulled them into a sense of insecurity when SA was chasing an unattainable score in the 2nd Innings by setting a field of "2SL & a G" .... and the middle order almost collapsed when he tried to confuse them by giving everyone a bowl.

Oh .... and then the 3rd Test against SA when the Australian bowling was being humbled, and Johnson took two wickets in an over he didn't once think of altering the plan, to support the bowler bring a bring in a couple more fielders around the bat. He then led the joyous celebrations when he took a catch late in the innings. And when it was Australia's turn to dig in he was a rock. Not once did he unnecessarily charge a spinner to risk a stumping.

Posted by mateyman on (February 5, 2013, 6:30 GMT)

BnH1985Fan 41 is a more than respectable away average.

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (February 5, 2013, 4:31 GMT)

Well done Clarkey, well desreved

Posted by Meety on (February 5, 2013, 1:06 GMT)

@ davidpk on (February 4, 2013, 12:24 GMT) - well I will start worrying when we have 3 Saffas & an Irishmen in our batting line up - that is not knocking your system - just a statement of fact! @landl47 on (February 4, 2013, 13:28 GMT) - Tests have a weighting of 6, ODIs 3, 20/20 2. Since Clarke doesn't play 20/20i's - Watto & Huss can gain ground there. Watto probably just about aced the 20/20 section. @davidpk on (February 4, 2013, 16:05 GMT) - classic! Name ONE Pommy bowler who is statistically even REMOTELY as a good as McKay in ODIs???? You can't - there is none, & NEVER has been! His S/Rate is about 30% BETTER than Anderson, (who is inferior to MJ in ODIs). That is why he got the gong, for best ODI player.

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Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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