Allan Border Medal: Surprise winner crowned Australia’s star performer as Gardner collects women’s top gong
Test captain Pat Cummins was last week named the ICC’s player of the year for 2023 but all-rounder Mitchell Marsh has caused a massive boilover by winning the Allan Border Medal.
“I really hadn’t thought about it until a few of the boys started getting stuck into me that they thought I was going to win it. I started thinking maybe I’m a chance. I had four beers at lunch so I had to stop there,” he said.
“Now I’m hoping that me winning this is not like COVID that we look back in three years’ time and go that was a weird time. But it’s definitely a huge honour.”
Cummins and Test vice-captain Steve Smith were the other finalists for the award.
Ash Gardner, Ellyse Perry and Annabel Sutherland were shortlisted for the women’s award with Gardner getting the nod after a superb year in all three formats. She had previously won the award in 2022.
Marsh became emotional, choking up on stage, when he was asked whether he ever doubted he would get back in the Test team after a four-year absence.
“I thought I was done and dusted. I often spoke to my wife (Greta) about it. I just wanted to get one more crack at it,” he said before stopping to settle himself. “It’s been amazing.”
The hard-hitting all-rounder choked up again during his speech as he attempted to thank Cummins and Australia coach Andrew McDonald for believing in him and showing faith.
“You just believed in me,” he said, holding back tears. “I can’t thank you enough for believing in me. 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.
“For your support, Patty, and your leadership, playing under you is an absolute dream so thank you very much.”
Marsh received the award from Border, who recently announced he was battling Parkinson’s disease. The legendary Aussie skipper spent many years playing alongside Marsh’s father, Geoff.
“Very special. It’s great to have him here. Dad often speaks about his fond memories playing under him, copping a few sprays over the journey but it was mostly good,” he added.
There were tributes to retiring stalwarts Meg Lanning, Aaron Finch, David Warner and Shaun Marsh.
The other winners were:
Bradman Young Player of the Year: Fergus O’Neill
Betty Wilson Young Cricketer of the Year: Emma de Broughe
Men’s Domestic Player of the Year: Cameron Bancroft
Women’s Domestic Players of the Year: Elyse Villani and Sophie Day
BBL Player of the Tournament: Matt Short
WBBL Player of the Tournament: Chamari Athapaththu
Community impact award: Ash Gardner
Allan Border Medal: Mitchell Marsh
Belinda Clark Award: Ash Gardner