The Australian Cricket Awards will be broadcast for the first time, with a thrilling fight for the Allan Border Medal and Belinda Clark Award on the agenda. When the Allan Border Medal and Belinda Clark Award are presented at next week’s Australian Cricket Awards, a wide-open contest for the sport’s top individual honors beckons. For the first time in three years, the Cricket Awards will be held as a black-tie gala event this month, before Australia’s men’s and women’s teams depart for India and South Africa.
Aus Cricket Awards Returns
The men will compete in a four-Test series for the Border Gavaskar Trophy, while the women will want to add another T20 World Cup to their trophy cabinet. The event at Sydney’s Randwick Racecourse on January 30 will be the first time Australia’s elite female and male cricketers have gathered together since the 2020 event at Melbourne’s Crown Casino, after two years of low-key virtual presentations due to the global Covid pandemic and cricket’s biosecurity protocols. The event, complete with a ‘blue carpet’ for athletes and their spouses, will be carried life on Fox Sports, Kayo, and 7Mate beginning at 7.30 p.m.
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The top prizes for each format are determined by 3-2-1 votes cast by players, umpires, and media representatives from each match during the year. Players vote on the women’s and men’s domestic players of the year, as well as the emerging star honors. The Allan Border Medal and Belinda Clark Award are weighted, with votes cast in Test matches worth twice those cast in ODIs and three times those cast in T20Is, to highlight the supremacy of the long-form game while also recognizing achievements across all forms.
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In the year since the last Cricket Awards, Australia’s men have played 10 Tests, 17 ODIs, and 22 T20 internationals, including tours to Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the middle of the year ahead of a busy home summer that includes three separate ODI series, a T20 World Cup on home soil, and Tests against the West Indies and South Africa. Usman Khawaja is the leading contender for the first Shane Warne Test Player of the Year Cricket Awards, having scored 1020 runs in the voting period at an average of 78.46.
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Following his untimely death in March at the age of 52, the prize was renamed in his honor. Marnus Labuschagne, who has 930 runs at 66.42 and four hundred, and Steve Smith, who has 863 runs at 71.91 and three centuries, are both set to be heavily voted for the five-day format Cricket Awards. Nathan Lyon took 45 Test wickets throughout the era, including five in the second innings in Lahore to help seal the series victory. This week, Khawaja, Labuschagne, Lyon, and captain Pat Cummins (29 wickets at 21.62) were selected to the ICC’s Test Team of the Year for 2022.
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The men’s ODI Cricket Awards seem to be wide open as well, with three batsmen scoring more than 500 runs in the 17 ODIs over the season, while Adam Zampa leads the bowlers following a stellar year. In 12 matches, Zampa took 30 wickets at 17.53 with an economy of 4.99. Mitchell Starc was the second most prolific wicket-taker, with 16 in eight games, while Josh Hazlewood had 15 in 13 games. David Warner made 552 ODI runs in 13 games, while Travis Head scored 550 runs in only nine matches after replacing Aaron Finch.
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Head’s average was 68.75, with a strike rate of 112.24, and two centuries. Steve Smith is the third hitter this season to have more than 500 runs, with 539 at 67.37 in 11 games. With 26 wickets in 17 games and an economy rate of 7.52, Hazlewood’s development as an excellent T20 bowler has him as a strong candidate for player of the year in the shortest format. Aaron Finch is a possibility for a third T20 Player of the Year Cricket Awards after topping all run scorers with 512, while Marcus Stoinis’ finishing skills (347 runs at a strike rate of 168.44) could also poll high.
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Cameron Green’s blazing start to his T20 career with 139 runs at a strike rate of 173.75 might propel him to the top of the polls, although he just played eight games. During the voting period, Australia’s women played one Test, 15 ODIs, and 16 T20 internationals, including the home Ashes last summer, the 50-over World Cup in New Zealand, the Ireland T20 tri-series, the Commonwealth Games, India’s tour in December, and the ODI portion of the current home series against Pakistan.
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Injuries, absences, and various players dominating at different periods should make the Belinda Cricket Awards race a close one. Meg Lanning, Alyssa Healy, and Beth Mooney are set to compete for the women’s ODI trophy, which includes Australia’s 3-0 Ashes ODI triumph over England, their unbeaten World Cup campaign, and this month’s 3-0 win over Pakistan. Lanning led the way with 618 runs at 56, including one century and five fifties, while Healy’s 600 runs came at 50, including back-to-back tonnes in the World Cup semi-final and final of Cricket Awards.
Mooney scored 594 runs, largely at No. 5, but concluded the voting period with a bang, hitting a tonne against Pakistan last week. Jess Jonassen was Australia’s highest wicket-taker during the same time period, with 22 wickets at 17 and an economy of 3.17. Mooney and Tahlia McGrath were Australia’s standouts with the bat in T20Is, both scoring four half-centuries; Mooney scored 499 runs at 56 with a strike rate of 134, while McGrath hit 435 runs at 62 with a strike rate of 145.
Alana King led the way in her debut year at the international level, collecting 17 wickets at an economy of 6.48. Keep an eye on Ashleigh Gardner, the Belinda Clark Award winner from last summer, who took 15 wickets and scored 216 runs at an average of 72 and a strike rate of 152.