Allan Border has weighed in on David Warner being awarded the medal that bears his name, admitting the voting system might need an overhaul.
The cricket world was rather stunned on Monday night when Warner was announced as the Allan Border Medallist, with the man himself saying he was “shocked” to win after his “horrendous” Ashes series.
Hoards of cricket fans felt Pat Cummins or Steve Smith were more deserving, sparking discussions about whether the current voting system is appropriate.
Speaking on the matter on Tuesday night, Border said Warner’s victory was deserved but admitted there is merit in rethinking the system.
“I’ve heard a little bit of argument about all that and it has some merit. There’s no doubt about that,” Border told Fox Sports News.
“Maybe the voting system can be looked at. We’ve been going for 21 years, it’s probably time to have just a look at how the votes are put together and how it’s all combined over the three, four months of the game for that final winner.
“Maybe it is timely to have a bit of a look at that voting system.”
Votes are awarded on a 3-2-1 basis by players, umpires and the media, with Test matches given a ‘weighting factor’ of six - ahead of one-dayers (3) and T20s (2).
Warner endured the worst Ashes series by an opening batsman in history, averaging just 9.5 across the five Tests.
Many commentators and fans believed the prestige of the Ashes should have been given more weighting in votes, with Cummins and Smith enjoying brilliant series.
Warner winning AB medal ahead of Cummins or Smith? Do the Ashes not count?— Ian McCullough (@IanMac08) February 10, 2020
David Warner has won the Allan Border medal for scoring the least runs ever by an Australian opener in a 10 innings Ashes series pic.twitter.com/SEAkrpuGbq— Dennis #KhelHumariHai (@DennisCricket_) February 10, 2020
Cummins robbed.— JAKE BUCKLEY 🇦🇺 (@TheMasterBucks) February 10, 2020
Had a great summer in Aus but how is this even possible when he was a spectator in the Ashes? https://t.co/V0g4293aQL
Unfair advantage for batsmen?
Cummins polled well, tallying 185 votes but was beaten by Warner (194) and Smith (193) in the count.
But the short history of the award, first presented in 2000, suggests that Warner and Smith were always in the box seat.
Batsmen have topped the Allan Border medal count on 14 occasions.
That number swells to 17 if you include the gongs that hard-hitting allrounder Shane Watson and dashing keeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist took home.
Cummins is one of only four bowlers with an Allan Border medal in their trophy cabinet; Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson are also one-time winners.
Hall of Fame inductee Craig McDermott highlighted the advantage batsmen have over bowlers in the age of Twenty20 cricket.
“They've just got to get more wickets, don't they, on wickets that suit batsmen,” McDermott said.
"It just shows that it's a batter's game, doesn't it?
"Both (one-day and Twenty20) games are designed for batsmen, particularly T20. That's all part and parcel of it."
It's debatable whether Cummins couldn't muster an additional 10 votes in the count because of the nature of the 3-2-1 system, the fact 10 wickets are generally shared among many, or a natural bias that his fast-bowling cartel have been preaching about for years.
Cummins did so much grunt work throughout the voting period, steaming in for 612.3 overs in 35 matches across all three formats.
Nobody played more games for Australia during that stretch.
But Warner and Smith, who featured in 26 and 25 games respectively for Australia in the voting period, produced more eye-catching performances in the eyes of judges.
The 2019 Ashes provided a similar snapshot.
Smith was widely considered the only possible choice for man of the series after scoring 774 runs from seven innings, even though Cummins' contribution was also immense given he finished the leading wicket-taker with 29 scalps at 19.62.
2020 ALLAN BORDER MEDAL VOTING
1st: David Warner (194 votes)
2nd: Steve Smith (193 votes)
3rd: Pat Cummins (185 votes)
BREAKDOWN OF ALLAN BORDER MEDAL WINNERS
Bowler (4): 2000, 2008, 2014, 2019
Batsman (14): 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020
Wicketkeeper (1): 2003
All-rounder (2): 2010, 2011