Former captain Steve Smith won his third Allan Border Medal while Beth Mooney bagged her maiden Belinda Clarke Award, the top two honours of the Australian Cricket Awards.
The awards were decided by a voting process for the period 2020-21.
It was double celebration for Smith as he also won the men’s ODI Player of the Year with 28 votes ahead of Finch (23) and leg-spinner Adam Zampa (19). Ashton Agar bagged the men’s T20 Player of the Year, beating fellow leg-spinner Zampa and Finch. Cummins won the Test player of the year award with 16 votes ahead of Josh Hazlewood and Marnus Labuschagne.
Mooney edged out Meg Lanning (58) by just two votes to take the honour, with Georgia Wareham (50) finishing third. She is the ninth Australian woman cricketer to win the award since its introduction in 2002. Mooney also became the first player outside of Ellyse Perry, Meg Lanning and Alyssa Healy since 2013 to win the top award in Australian women’s cricket.
The 27-year-old left-handed batter also won the Women’s T20 Player of the Year award. Rachel Haynes won the Women’s ODI Player of the Year
Smith was surprised to receive the honour, insisting that he felt his poor outing in the Test series against India had ruined his chances of winning the award.
“It’s a great thrill, plenty of hard work has gone into it (but) I didn’t expect it; I thought Marnus (Labuschagne) or Pat Cummins were the front runners because they both had exceptional years,” Smith said.
“I didn’t feel I had the biggest Test summer, which normally holds the most votes. I think my one-day cricket was pretty good last summer. I’m just really honoured to have won my third AB Medal and hopefully I can keep producing results for Australia,” he added.
Smith scored 1,098 runs at an average of 45.75 across all three formats during the period 2020-21, which was severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Smith hit four fifties and four centuries, with a top score of 131 in an ODI against India. With 126 votes in his kitty, the right-hander edged out Pat Cummins (117 votes) and limited-overs skipper Aaron Finch (97).
Due to logistical challenges posed by the pandemic, this year’s awards were not presented at the usual gala event, but were announced on Friday during a televised show ahead of the KFC BBL10 Final.
The duo received their medals at home – Mooney on the Gold Coast and Smith in Sydney.