Steve Smith’s gilded year in cricket’s pre-eminent form gained further lustre tonight when the Australia captain was honoured as Hublot Test Player of the Year at the annual Allan Border Medal presentation in Melbourne.
Smith, who last month was named the International Cricket Council’s Test Cricketer of the Year, became just the third player after former skippers Michael Clarke (four times) and Ricky Ponting (three) to win the award on multiple occasions.
It is due recognition of Smith’s dominance in the Test arena during the voting period stretching from Australia’s Qantas Tour of India last year to the completion of their 4-0 triumph in the Magellan Ashes Series against England last month.
During that time, Smith was the most productive batter in Test cricket with 1305 runs at an extraordinary average of 81.56 with six centuries from his 19 innings (three of them unbeaten).
By comparison, in that 12-month period the next-best performer at Test level was India’s Cheteshwar Pujara (1170 runs at 61.58) with England captain Joe Root the third-best with 1107 at 55.35, although both played one more match than Smith’s 11.
Under the voting system that aggregates polling from fellow team members as well as umpires and media representatives, Smith polled a combined tally of 32 votes to take the prize ahead of off-spinner Nathan Lyon (26 votes) and opener David Warner (15).
Fast bowler Pat Cummins completed his first uninterrupted year as an Australia player since making his debut in 2011 as a teenager by finishing fourth in the Test counting with 14 votes, while fellow quick Josh Hazlewood and batter Shaun Marsh tied for fifth with eight apiece.
Smith’s previous success as Test Player of the Year came in 2015, shortly before he succeeded Clarke as Australia captain in the wake of that year’s failed Ashes campaign in England.
The 28-year-old polled in all but five of the 11 Tests his team played in the voting period, and gained the maximum recognition in four of those matches – against India in Ranchi and Dharamsala, and in Ashes Tests at Brisbane and Perth.
The only flat spot of Smith’s past 12 months of Test cricket came in Bangladesh last August and September, where he failed to record a vote in the two-match series and Lyon dominated with 22 wickets and top votes in both games.
Given the weighting system applied to votes to ensure players who don’t take part in all formats of the international game are not precluded from the overall prize – with Test votes rated twice the value of those in ODI matches and three times those polled in T20I – Smith also loomed as early favourite to pocket his second Allan Border Medal.
Test Player of the Year
Steve Smith – 32 votes
Nathan Lyon – 26
David Warner – 15
Pat Cummins – 14
Josh Hazlewood – 8
Shaun Marsh – 8