Cricket fans fume over Travis Head snub amid Mitch Marsh's Allan Border Medal win

The Aussie batter was contentiously overlooked despite taking out three massive honours in 2023.

Pictured left to right, Aussie cricket stars Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh.
Aussie cricket star Travis Head was not even on the three-man shortlist for the Allan Border Medal which was won by Mitchell Marsh. Pic: Getty

The cricket world has taken to social media to vent its anger after Aussie star Travis Head was nowhere to be seen in voting for the Allan Border Medal on Wednesday night. Mitchell Marsh capped off an incredible career resurgence to take out the highest individual men's honour after being named Australia's best cricketer over the last calendar year.

Marsh gave one of the all-time great acceptance speeches after clinching his first Allan Border Medal, ahead of Aussie Test and ODI skipper Pat Cummins and veteran batter Steve Smith. However, it was the omission of Head from the three-man shortlist to win the prestigious award that left many fans perplexed, considering he went into the night as one of the favourites to win.

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Head's incredible year in 2023 saw him take out a trio of man-of-the-match awards in arguably the three biggest games for Australia. The Aussie batter won his first after a stunning century against India helped the Aussies win the World Test Championship final in England. Head followed that up with two more MVP performances in both the semi-final and final of the ODI World Cup - with another century against India in the tournament decider helping the Aussies clinch a sixth World Cup crown.

Travis Head and Steve Smith at the Australian Cricket Awards.
Travis Head and Steve Smith at the Australian Cricket Awards with their partners. Image: Getty

Cricket world shocked by Travis Head omission

Despite Head's heroics, however, Marsh, Cummins and Smith all finished ahead of him in voting. The South Australian could consider himself extremely unlucky not to have even finished among the top three in the medal count, with the weight of results from Australia's many other games throughout the year ultimately counting against him.

The medal count is voted on by players, umpires and media throughout the calendar year, with Test cricket given double weighting against ODIs and triple when compared to T20 cricket. While many cricket fans were particularly puzzled by Smith finishing above Head in the count, a quick glance at their numbers goes some way to explaining why.

While Head outperformed Smith in ODIs (570 runs for an average of 51.8) and T20is (209 at 34.8), Smith's numbers in Test cricket were actually slightly superior to Head's. In his 24 innings in 2023, Smith scored 929 runs at 42.2, while Head plundered 919 at 41.8 in one fewer innings. That didn't stop fans from venting their anger on social media though, with many insisting Head was "robbed" in the medal count.

Mitch Marsh caps off epic year with Allan Border Medal

Despite the disappointment for Head, few could begrudge Marsh of a well deserved honour after a remarkable career renaissance for the 32-year-old. Marsh was a runaway winner after finishing 79 votes ahead Cummins.

The West Australian was helped by regaining his spot in the Test team during the Ashes. He also took the ODI player of the year award after starring in Australia's stunning World Cup triumph in India, while his contributions in T20 cricket made him an invaluable asset for Australia as a three-format star. Marsh's stunning career resurgence also saw him named captain of Australia's T20 side.

Seen here, Mitchell Marsh poses with the Allan Border Medal.
Mitchell Marsh poses with the Allan Border Medal after picking up the top individual honour in Aussie men's cricket. Pic: Getty

Marsh frequently choked back tears as he paid tribute to his wife Greta, family, Aussie coach Andrew McDonald and skipper Cummins. The 32-year-old - affectionately nicknamed 'Bison' - was also at his self-deprecating best in a speech that endeared the all-rounder to cricket fans around the world.

"I often spoke to my wife about...," Marsh said before pausing as he fought off tears. "That I just wanted to get one more crack at it, and it's been amazing. She gave me the perspective on life that I needed.

“Grets is an amazing human, I said in my wedding vows eight months ago she gave me the perspective on life I needed and our life is a lot of fun. If I get a duck, or get a hundred, she’s always the same."

Marsh choked up again as he thanked Cummins and McDonald for believing in him. “To Ronny (McDonald) and Patty (Cummins), you believed in me and I can’t thank you enough," he said. “I’m a bit fat at times and I love a beer but you see the best in me always. You’ve changed my life."

with AAP

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