Smith storms to Allan Border Medal
Captain's prolific Test form sees him claim the highest honour for an Australian male cricketer
12 February 2018, 11:51 PM AEST
The man who notionally holds Australia's second-highest public office is now also the owner of the nation's foremost individual cricket honour - for the second time) - after Steve Smith was crowned as the 2018 Allan Border Medallist tonight.
Smith, who had earlier been named Australia's Test Player of the Year for his dominant 12 months with the bat, was a clear winner for the annual award that he previously secured in 2015 having finished well clear of his vice-captain David Warner and off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
Pat Cummins showed why so much faith and time has been spent in ensuring his recovery from a string of serious injuries by finishing fourth in his first uninterrupted 12-month stint since his Test debut in 2011, while fellow quick Josh Hazlewood placed fifth.
In the voting window that spanned the period after the final Test of the 2016-17 summer to the end of the fifth Magellan Ashes Test last month, Smith polled a total of 246 aggregated votes split evenly between his Australia teammates (123) and umpires and media representatives (123).
The 28-year-old, whose return of 1754 runs at an average of 67.46 across all international formats during that 12-month period was the most among all Australia players, is also the reigning ICC Test Cricketer of the Year after earning that accolade last month.
Smith's win came after Warner had taken home the Medal, first presented as a joint initiative between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association in 2000, in each of the past two years.
Smith's win was underpinned by his stellar Test performances, given the votes are weighted so that Test performances are worth double those in ODIs and three times those cast for T20I matches, where he finished with 32 of a possible maximum 66 votes.
He joins Warner and former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson as dual winners of the Border Medal, with only his fellow former captains Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke ahead of him in the annals of the individual prize with four wins apiece.
His final winning margin of 84 votes highlighted how pre-eminent Smith has been in a period when he led Australia to an historic Test win at Pune before surrendering that series to hosts India, a drawn two-Test campaign in Bangladesh and a 4-0 Ashes triumph over England.
In addition to being Australia's leading scorer in Test cricket, Smith was third-most prolific in the ODI format (behind Warner and Travis Head) but did not feature in any of the five T20 ODIs played in the voting period.
The Border Medal has been dominated by batters in the recent past, with the honour shared by Ponting, Clarke, Watson, Warner and Smith in nine of the past 10 years.
The exception was in 2014, in the wake of the previous Ashes summer, when Mitchell Johnson became the first specialist bowler to take home the award since Brett Lee in 2008.
Allan Border Medal final voting
Steve Smith – 246 David Warner – 162 Nathan Lyon – 156 Pat Cummins – 111 Josh Hazlewood – 72 Aaron Finch – 64 Mitchell Starc – 63 Travis Head – 55 Marcus Stoinis – 54 Shaun Marsh – 48 Nathan Coulter-Nile – 47 Peter Handscomb – 36 Steven O'Keefe – 36 Glenn Maxwell – 33 James Faulkner – 26 Mitchell Marsh – 24 Usman Khawaja – 24 Adam Zampa – 20 Moises Henriques – 20 Matthew Wade – 18 Jason Behrendorff – 14 Matthew Renshaw – 12 Michael Klinger – 10 Kane Richardson – 9 Ben Dunk – 8 Ashton Turner – 8 Tim Paine – 2 Andrew Tye – 2