Allan Border was a conspicuous absentee from the Australian Cricket Awards on Monday night, with his wife Jane having to step in and present the medal named in his honour. Border has been in attendance to present the Allan Border Medal - the highest honour in Australian men's cricket - for the better part of the past 22 years.
However he was absent on Monday night, with wife Jane revealing he'd fallen ill after a recent trip overseas. Jane was on stage to present the medal to Steve Smith, who became just the third player to win the gong four times - joining Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke.
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However fans were left saddened that Border couldn't be there to present the medal for the first time. "He's not in a good way," wife Jane said on stage, revealing Border had come down with two stomach bugs and the Influenza A virus.
"I'm sure he will be back to normal in no time," Jane assured fans. When asked if Border had given her any advice considering he's been presenting the medal for the last 22 years, Jane said "absolutely nothing". She said Border told her: "You'll be right babe."
Smith polled 171 votes from players, umpires and the media across the last 12 months, beating fellow nominees Travis Head (144) and David Warner (141). He made 1524 runs across all three formats of the game during the voting period, averaging over 55.
The former Aussie captain is now just the third player in the award's history to win it four times - 2015, 2018, 2021 and 2023. Ponting won the Allan Border Medal in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009, while Clarke won it in 2005, 2009, 2012 and 2013.
Smith's honour comes after he tweaked his batting technique before the Australian summer, and reaped the rewards against the West Indies and South Africa. He made 200 not out against the West Indies - his highest Test score in three years - before backing it up with 103 against South Africa in his home Test at the SCG.
"I hope there's more to come," he told reporters afterwards. "That's what I strive for every day, to be the best player that I can be.
"I made some adjustments in the last six months. It took me a while to do, I had to work through a few things. It's started to work well for me. Hopefully I can just keep getting better and better.
“It’s very humbling, it makes me feel quite old. I certainly don’t play the game for these reasons. I play to be the best player I can be and help my team have success, whether I’m playing for Australia or New South Wales or the Sixers."
Beth Mooney polled 129 votes to win the Belinda Clark Award (the women's equivalent of the Allan Border Medal) for the second time in her career. She was also named Women's ODI Player Of The Year.
"You don't play the game of cricket to win these awards or for personal accolades, you play for team success," Mooney said. "And we certainly had a whole bunch of that this year, which was amazing to be a part of."
Usman Khawaja won the inaugural Shane Warne Men's Test Player Of The Year, while David Warner was named Men's ODI Player Of The Year. Marcus Stoinis took the Men's T20I Player Of The Year award.
Why didn’t Allen Border present the award?
— Silvia (@silvia_grigg) January 30, 2023
He was sick. Caught something while overseas according to his wife.
— Jason (@WJasonNheu) January 30, 2023
Australia Cricket Awards winners:
Belinda Clark Award - Beth Mooney (129 votes)
Allan Border Medal - Steve Smith (171 votes)
Women's ODI Player of the Year - Beth Mooney
Women's T20I Player of the Year - Tahlia McGrath
Shane Warne Men's Test Player of the Year - Usman Khawaja
Men's ODI Player of the Year - David Warner
Men's T20I Player of the Year - Marcus Stoinis
Women's Domestic Player of the Year - Annabel Sutherland
Men's Domestic Player of the Year - Michael Neser
Betty Wilson Young Cricketer of the Year - Courtney Seppel
Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year - Lance Morris
Community Champion Award - Usman Khawaja
Woolworths Cricket Blaster of the Year - Mabel Tovey
Australian Cricket Hall of Fame inductees - Marg Jennings and Ian Redpath
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