January 28, 2003

Gilchrist wins the Allan Border Medal

John Salvado

MELBOURNE, Jan 28 AAP - Acknowledging that 2002-03 had not been his best season, Adam Gilchrist was as surprised as anyone to win the Allan Border Medal tonight as Australia's cricketer of the year.

The wicketkeeper-batsman had indisputably been a key member of the dominant Australian Test and one-day teams.

But it was his limited-overs opening partner Matthew Hayden, currently ranked the world's No.1 Test and one-day batsman, who was the pre-event favourite.

Gilchrist polled 88 votes, to edge Ricky Ponting (84), Shane Warne (79) and Hayden (76).

"The award was a surprise, it's amazing, I really didn't expect it," said Gilchrist, who also won the one-day international player of the year award.

"So many guys had great years, Matty Hayden had a standout year, probably a better year even than last season when he won the award.

"So I think all of us were banking that he was going to be the man."

When asked if it had been his best-ever season, Gilchrist replied: "To be honest no, seeing from my reaction tonight.

"It started out well.... I was probably a fraction inconsistent in one-day cricket, in Test cricket I felt like I took some opportunities well and missed a few opportunities, although that's the type of player I am."

Gilchrist nominated skipper Steve Waugh's century in the fifth Ashes Test earlier this month as his highlight of the season.

Personal high points would have included back to back unbeaten Test hundreds against South Africa.

The Allan Border Medal is still in its infancy, but Gilchrist said it was already something coveted by the players.

"It's grown in tradition in four years, it's grown legs," he said.

"It's got a little bit of history now if you look at the names already on the winners board.

"I guess the key ingredient with this one is that the players vote on it."

The previous winners were Hayden (2002), Steve Waugh (2001) and Glenn McGrath (2000).

The voting began on the tour of South Africa from February-April last year and finished with the VB Series finals last weekend.

Votes were cast by the players, umpires, match referees and media representatives on a 3-2-1 basis for each game, with an extra weighting given to the 11 Tests over the 27 one-day internationals.

Test captain-in-waiting Ponting (13 votes) was a narrow winner of the Test Player of the Year ahead of Warne (12) and Gilchrist (10).

Warne's chances were hampered by missing the last two of the 11 Tests in the voting period with a dislocated shoulder.

Gilchrist also won the One-Day International Player of the Year with 18 votes, one ahead of Hayden and Brett Lee.

He made 751 runs with two centuries at an average of 32.65 and a strike rate of 95.79.

Gilchrist also took 40 catches and made five stumpings.

But Gilchrist's Test average of 77.33 this season was the best in a team where Ponting and Hayden also averaged more than 60.

Other award winners were Martin Love (State Player of the Year), Nathan Hauritz (Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year) and Karen Rolton (Women's Cricketer of the Year).

Former Test captains Lindsay Hassett and Ian Chappell were inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.