After believing he was “done and dusted” as an international cricketer, Australian allrounder Mitch Marsh is now an Allan Border medallist.
The 32-year-old was named Australian men’s cricket’s best performed player at the annual awards on Wednesday night at Crown Palladium in Melbourne.
Star allrounder Ash Gardner took out the women’s top honour, claiming her second Belinda Clark Award in three years.
After his resurgence was confirmed with his medal presentation, an emotional Marsh gave a funny and touching acceptance speech, paying tribute to wife Greta, as well as Australian captain Pat Cummins and coach Andrew McDonald.
“I often spoke to my wife about … ,” Marsh said, before pausing as his emotions welled up.
“… that I just wanted to get one more crack at it, and it’s been amazing.
“She gave me the perspective on life that I needed.”
Marsh was a runaway winner, finishing 79 votes ahead of Test and ODI captain skipper Cummins in a medal voted on by players, umpires and media.
The West Australian was helped by regaining his spot in the Test team during the Ashes. He also took the ODI player of the year award after starring in Australia’s stunning World Cup win in India, while his contributions in T20s made him a tri-format player.
“I’m sort of hoping me winning this is not like Covid and you look back on it and three years time and go, ‘This was a weird time’,” said Marsh, who joins the likes of Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Steven Smith, Cummins as an Allan Border medallist.
“One of my friends sent me the list today and I just thought – if I win it’s going to look weird.”
Marsh scored the second-highest number of runs (1638 at 58.5) by an Australian cricketer during the voting period across Tests, ODIs and T20s, tied with fellow World Cup hero Travis Head.
Only Test No.3 Marnus Labuschagne, who played six more matches than Marsh, compiled more runs (1672 at 40.78).
Marsh almost broke down when thanking Cummins and McDonald for “believing” in him.
“I’m a bit fat at times and I love a beer but you see the best in me always and you’ve changed my life,” he said.
“For your support and your leadership, Patty, playing under you is a dream.”
Star spinner Nathan Lyon was a surprise winner of the Shane Warne Men’s Test player of the year.
Despite missing the final three Tests of the Ashes due to a torn calf, Lyon’s outstanding performances in India were enough for him to collect the red-ball award for the second time – and first since 2019.
Opener Usman Khawaja took out the ICC Test cricketer of the year after making 1062 runs at 42.48 across 13 matches.
But the 37-year-old, who has been a revelation since being recalled to the Test team in January 2022, was unable to secure back-to-back Australian red-ball awards.
There was more joy for West Australians as fast bowler Jason Behrendorff collected the T20 player of the year award.
Star women’s allrounder Ellyse Perry took out the ODI and T20 awards, but Gardner pipped the veteran by 13 votes.
Gardner starred in Australia’s Test win during the multi-format Ashes in England and the spinner performed admirably in the red-ball defeat to India on a turning wicket in Mumbai.
CRICKET AUSTRALIA AWARDS WINNERS:
Belinda Clark Award – Ashleigh Gardner (147 votes)
2nd: Ellyse Perry (134)
3rd: Annabel Sutherland (106)
Allan Border Medal – Mitchell Marsh (223 votes)
Pat Cummins (144)
Steven Smith (141)
Women’s ODI Player of the Year – Ellyse Perry
Women’s T20I Player of the Year – Ellyse Perry
Shane Warne Men’s Test Player of the Year – Nathan Lyon
Men’s ODI Player of the Year – Mitchell Marsh
Men’s T20I Player of the Year – Jason Behrendorff
Women’s Domestic Player of the Year – Sophie Day, Elyse Villani (tied).
Men’s Domestic Player of the Year – Cameron Bancroft
Betty Wilson Young Cricketer of the Year – Emma De Brough
Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year – Fergus O’Neill
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