Mitchell Marsh moved his audience to tears and left them in fits of laughter as he collected the prestigious Allan Border medal at the Cricket Australia awards in Melbourne on Wednesday.
The award recognises the most outstanding male Australian cricketer of the past season. It is voted by their teammates, the media and umpires, in a tally system following Test matches, one-day internationals and T20s.
It is typically won by one of the biggest names in the sport. Steve Smith has received the prize on four occasions, and other multiple winners include fellow former Test captains Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke, and batter David Warner.
But this year one of Australia’s unsung heroes, Marsh, was recognised for his contribution on and off the field in all formats of the game, after the 32-year-old forced his way back into the Test team during the Ashes and starred with the bat in Australia’s World Cup triumph in India.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 31, 2024
Marsh joined a star-studded list of previous winners, and in an entertaining speech, he joked: “One of my friends sent me the list today and I just thought, if I win it’s going to look weird.”
He paid tribute to his wife, Greta, saying through tears: “I often spoke to my wife ... 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.”
Marsh also got emotional thanking captain Pat Cummins and coach Andrew McDonald for believing in him.
“I’m a bit fat at times and I love a beer,” he said to great laughter, “but you see the best in me always and you’ve changed my life. Thank you for your support and your leadership, Patty, playing under you is a dream.”
The responses to Marsh’s speech, tweeted by cricket.com.au, hailed his sense of humour and humility. “I’m not crying you’re crying,” said one. Others referenced his nickname, “the Bison”, as they celebrated Marsh’s outstanding year.
Well done to the big Bison. You are a legend.
— Jamie B (@blueboy0201) January 31, 2024
Very likeable bloke the 🦬. Congrats Mitch 👏
— chook (@Jameske68194195) January 31, 2024
What a champion congratulations 👏 Mitch
— AKDhillon🇮🇳 (@kauraverjit) January 31, 2024
Allrounder Ash Gardner won the women’s Belinda Clark Award for the second time in three years.
Nathan Lyon won the men’s Test player of the year, Marsh took the ODI player’s prize and fast bowler Jason Behrendorff collected the T20 award. Ellyse Perry won both of the women’s white-ball awards.