Test and one-day captain Michael Clarke faces some strong competition in the Allan Border Medal to be presented on Monday.
Michael Clarke faces some strong opposition on his way to potentially becoming the first cricketer to win the Allan Border Medal in three successive years.
Clarke, as well as Shane Watson and the retired Ricky Ponting, have all won in consecutive years – with Clarke and Ponting sharing the record of four wins.
Clarke, Watson, pace bowler Mitchell Johnson and emerging allrounder James Faulkner are all likely to poll well in the Medal, which will be presented in Sydney on Monday evening.
Middle order batsman Clarke dominated the count over the last couple of years, but wasn’t quite as prolific over the past 12 months, with matches in the voting period stretching from February 1 2013 to January 20 2014.
He still scored four Test centuries plus another one-day ton, averaging over 40 in both forms.
Watson equalled Clarke’s tally of five tons – three of them at one-day level – and he was Australia’s highest aggregate run scorer over the three forms in the voting period.
However, he had ten more innings than Clarke and averaged 34 to the skipper’s 44 in Tests and didn’t have any big hauls with the ball.
Johnson only played the six Tests, but picked up 37 wickets and was easily Australia’s leading wicket taker across all three forms, also performing well in one-day games.
Fellow paceman Ryan Harris regularly delivered at Test level, claiming 46 wickets in nine games and could be a contender for Test player of the year, but probably not for the Medal, as he didn’t play any short-form cricket.
Batsmen Chris Rogers, David Warner, Steve Smith and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and paceman Peter Siddle were other reasonably well performed players.
Middle-order batsman George Bailey looms as the favourite for the one-day international player of the year averaging 75 over 17 innings.
A possible smokey in the Allan Border Medal and one-day award is Faulkner, whose heroic half century steered Australia to an improbable victory in the second ODI against England in Brisbane last Friday.
He averaged over 40 with the bat in ODIs and was the second-highest wicket taker in that discipline behind paceman Clint McKay, last year’s ODI player of the year.
Faulkner also performed well in his one Test appearance and was Australia’s leading wicket taker in Twenty20 cricket.
Opening batsman Aaron Finch is the clear favourite as the Twenty20 international player of the year.
Australia only played four matches in the voting period, but Finch scored 254 runs at 63.50 at a colossal strike rate of 201.59.
He blasted an unforgettable 156 against England in Southampton and top-scored with 89 against India in Rajkot.
Dashing opening batter Meg Lanning and allrounder Ellyse Perry and possibly pace bowler Megan Schutt are the likely front runners for the Belinda Clark Medal, for the nation’s most outstanding female cricketer, where performances across all three forms count.
Other awards to be presented include the domestic player and Bradman young cricket of the year.