ODI dominance lifts Mitchell Marsh to popular win



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West Australian opening batter Cameron Bancroft, recently left out of the Test side when a vacancy was created by the retirement of David Warner, claimed the domestic player of the year award, primarily for his consistent Sheffield Shield displays.

For Marsh, the night represented another milestone in his turn from a figure of some derision as recently as 2018 to an honoured place among the Australian game’s elite rank.

“Yeah, most of Australia hate me,” Marsh had said in 2019. “Australians are very passionate, they love their cricket, they want people to do well.

“There’s no doubt I’ve had a lot of opportunity at Test level and I haven’t quite nailed it, but hopefully they can respect me for the fact I keep coming back and I love playing for Australia, I love the baggy green cap and I’ll keep trying and hopefully I’ll win them over one day.”

Elevated to number three in the one-day team’s batting order in 2022 after proving a world-beater in that position at the Twenty20 World Cup in 2021, Marsh’s hard-hitting displays were critical to the way Pat Cummins’ team wanted to play at the 50-over event, to the extent that a reluctant Smith was demoted to number four in the order to make room.

Though it was Travis Head who made the tournament-sealing century in the final against India in Ahmedabad, it was Marsh’s willingness to crunch Mohammed Shami down the ground for six while the new ball was swinging that assured the team’s coaching staff that Cummins’ team would stay true to themselves.

Over the voting period, Marsh hammered 858 ODI runs at 47.67 while striking at 113.94 and making two centuries. He also tallied 594 runs at 66 in just six Test matches – the only member of Australia’s top six to average better than 50 in that time.

Marsh’s comeback century on day one of the Headingley Test, taking on the high pace of Mark Wood after the loss of early wickets, was one of the most thrilling innings played in 2023 – although its solo nature told another tale.

There were unquestionably some mediocre Test returns elsewhere in the order. While Usman Khawaja maintained a solid record at the top (1062 runs at 42.48), none of Steve Smith, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Warner, Cameron Green or Alex Carey could average better than 39.

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Among the bowlers, each of Lyon, Cummins and Mitchell Starc reaped more than 40 wickets apiece, with Josh Hazlewood’s tally down mainly through injury in the early part of the year. Todd Murphy, who debuted in India and then subbed in for Lyon during the Ashes, collected a promising 21 wickets at 25.43 while being narrowly more economical than Lyon.

Gardner’s triumph was a reward for the world’s equal second most valuable female cricketer with England’s Nat Sciver-Brunt, just behind India’s Smriti Mandhana – that’s if Indian Premier League auction prices are used as the metric.

If Gardner’s batting returns over the voting period were slightly less than she might have hoped for, a wicket tally of 56 victims across the formats at an average of 19.39 spoke to her consistent threat as an off spin bowler.

Sophie Day and Elyse Villani emerged as joint winners of the women’s domestic player of the year gong, while Emma De Brough claimed the Betty Wilson young cricketer of the year prize. Victorian seamer Fergus O’Neill won the Bradman young cricketer of the year award for men.


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