Australian Cricket Awards
David Warner claims 2020 Allan Border Medal
Australia's three-format opening batsman rides amazing white-ball form and dominant home summer to third Allan Border Medal by a single vote
Andrew Ramsey Senior Journalist
10 February 2020, 09:35 PM AEST
Following a year that began with him serving suspension and included his leanest-ever batting effort on his return to the Test game, David Warner tonight claimed a dramatic win in the Allan Border Medal count to be crowned the nation's pre-eminent men's cricketer.
Warner, who had previously won the coveted individual prize in 2016 and 2017, polled a total of 194 across the Test, ODI and T20I formats to finish a solitary vote ahead of former captain Steve Smith and nine votes clear of third-placed Pat Cummins.
In the immediate aftermath of his success, Warner admitted he was genuinely shocked to win his third Border Medal particularly in light of his poor Ashes campaign in the UK.
And he reiterated his thanks to all those involved in paving the way for him, Smith and Cameron Bancroft were returned to the fold of the men's national team following their respective suspensions.
"I had an absolutely horrendous Ashes and generally, across the Test matches, that's where a lot of the votes are polled," Warner said.
"So I didn't think I was a chance for that (Border Medal).
"It was a shock and a surprise.
"When it is that close, you really don't know so it's a big surprise to be honest.
"I had no doubt that I had the capabilities of coming back and being here again.
"It was a lot of hard work and commitment to put my hand back up for selection, and to go away and do what I know best which is to try and score as many runs as I can in any competition I'm playing in.
"There was obviously a lot of work done to reintegrate the three of us, and the way that unfolded and the way we were reintegrated back into the team … I'm extremely grateful for that."
He joins a select club as a multiple winner of the Border Medal, which honours Australia's longest-serving men's Test captain and was first presented in 2000 when it was won by Glenn McGrath.
Ex-skippers Ricky Ponting (2004, 2006, 2007) and Michael Clarke (2005, 2012, 2013) have their names on the honour board four times having also shared the prize in 2009, while Shane Watson (2010, 2011) and Smith (2015, 2018) are dual winners.
It represents a stunning vindication of Warner's single-minded determination to return to the pinnacle of his sport after the trauma and fall-out of the 2018 Cape Town incident and the personal disappointment of last year's Ashes campaign in the UK.
Having starred in the preceding ICC World Cup, his and Smith's much-awaited return to international cricket after their year-long bans, Warner endured a torrid time against England's seamers in the five-Test Ashes series that yielded him just 95 runs from 10 innings at an average of 9.5.
However, rather than question his ability to once again find his dominant best in the Test arena, Warner threw himself into a gruelling fitness regime upon his return to Australia with the aim of making amends in every format in more familiar home conditions.
Spurred on by his wife, former competition iron-woman Candice, Warner pushed himself to regain peak physical condition and was rewarded with a record-breaking run of scores at the start of the Australia international season.
In six T20 internationals against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, the left-hander was dismissed just once and recorded a stunning average of 287, before taking to Pakistan's hapless young bowling attack in the two-Test series that followed.
The 33-year-old plundered 154 against Pakistan at the Gabba, in his first Test outing on Australia soil in almost two years, and followed that with a career-high 335 not out in the following Test at Adelaide Oval.
In addition, Warner finished the 2019 ICC World Cup tournament in the UK as Australia's most productive batter (and second-highest runs scorer for the even behind India's Rohit Sharma) with 647 runs at an average of 71.89 with three centuries and as many 50s.
Warner's performances across all three international formats ensured he was a worthy winner of the Border Medal, albeit by the barest-possible margin.
While Smith dominated with the bat during the Ashes campaign, in which Australia retained the urn on British soil for the first time since 2001, he played a decidedly second-fiddle role to Warner during the home season.
So rampant was the champion opener in the two T20 series and the Tests against Pakistan that followed, Smith's batting contributions – that had proved vital in England as his fellow top-order teammates struggled against the swinging ball – were rarely required.
And while Cummins was named the International Cricket Council's Test Player of the Year last month, neither he nor Smith was honoured with an individual prize at the annual awards ceremony that represents the pinnacle of individual achievement in Australia cricket.
In the men's categories, Aaron Finch was named ODI Player of the Year while Marnus Labuschagne completed a remarkable rise over the past 12 months to be crowned Test Player of Year with Warner taking out the T20I honour.
Former Test batter Shaun Marsh was voted by his peers as Domestic Player of the Year, with South Australia and Adelaide Strikers pace bowler Wes Agar (younger brother of ex-Test allrounder Ashton Agar) received the coveted Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year honour for emerging players up to age 24.
In the women's awards, allrounder Ellyse Perry joined Warner as a three-times winner by claiming her third Belinda Clark Award as the outstanding player across all formats.
Perry's teammate Alyssa Healy was named ODI and T20I Player of the Year, with Victoria spinner Molly Strano honoured as Domestic Player of the Year and another Victorian, 21-year-old seamer Tayla Vlaeminck voted by her peers as Betty Wilson Young Cricketer of the Year.
Former Australia fast bowlers Craig McDermott and Sharon Tredrea were inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame as part of the ACA ceremony, and ex-Hobart Hurricanes allrounder Corrine Hall was named Community Champion for her work with education and awareness programs, and grassroots cricket.
2020 Allan Border Medal votes
David Warner: 194 votes
Steve Smith: 193
Pat Cummins: 185