Ponting wins third Allan Border medal - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ponting wins third Allan Border medal

By Adam Cooper 06/02/2007 06:25:49 AM Comments (0)

Ricky Ponting knows something about clean-sweeps and so in the same summer his side regained the Ashes 5-0, Australia's peerless batsman won all three major awards at the Allan Border Medal award.

Ponting confirmed his favouritism by comfortably winning his third medal as Australia's best player of the past year, and also won the Test and One-Day awards.

Ponting's overall victory followed his medal wins in 2004 and 2006, which makes him the only player in the award's eight-year history to have won three times. He is also the first player to have won all three categories in the same year.

He described the past year as the greatest of his cricketing career and was surprised at winning in a clean-sweep.

"To win all three awards tonight has blown me away," he said.

"I knew I'd had a good Test year, I thought my one-day season had been very up and down, but if you get enough man of the match awards I guess you're going to poll a few votes.

"It's a great honour to win an Allan Border Medal, but to win three is pretty special."

Ponting polled 107 votes awarded by players, media and umpires across Australia's 10 Tests and 28 one-day internationals in a voting system where Tests were weighted almost three times heavily to balance the discrepancy.

Runner-up Mike Hussey (58) was a distant 49 votes behind his captain, and Shane Warne (56) was third.

Ponting's night of triumph capped an almost perfect year for the world champions, who won all 10 Tests, last summer's tri-series, another tri-series in Malaysia and the Champions Trophy in India.

The highlight of the campaign was undoubtedly regaining the Ashes from England, when Ponting's side joined Warwick Armstrong's 1920-21 team as the only ones to have won a five-match series in a whitewash.

The Test series finished on an emotional note given the retirements of Warne, Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer - Damien Martyn also signed off during the series - and Ponting said he had been looking forward to spending the night with his former teammates.

"I was out of control that day (at the SCG, after the fifth Test) knowing your mates that you've done so much with over the years aren't going to be there any more," he said.

"It's hard to deal with but you've got to wish them all the best in whatever they do from here on, and know that one day that's going to be me in their shoes.

"So I've got to make the most of the next few years and hopefully win a few games for Australia along the way."

Ponting, 32, came from behind to win the One-Day award and beat Andrew Symonds through a century against New Zealand at the MCG, and he beat Warne by two votes in the Test award.

West Australian opener Chris Rogers won the State Player of the Year award, Tasmanian quick Ben Hilfenhaus was named Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year and Southern Stars vice-captain Lisa Sthalekar won the Women's International Player of the Year.

Australia have only lost one match this summer - to England last Friday - and are favoured to claim another tri-series trophy against either New Zealand or England, who will play in for a spot in the finals.

Australia's next major challenge is to win a third-straight World Cup, in the Caribbean.

"Hopefully we can finish the Australian summer off on a good note and then go to New Zealand (for the Chappell-Hadlee series) and then the West Indies with a lot of confidence behind us," Ponting said.

Ponting scored 2,083 runs in 33 matches across both forms of the game over the past year at 59.51 with nine centuries.

Symonds attended the count - he took Warne's oldest daughter Brooke as his partner - after surgery to re-attach the bicep tendon in his right shoulder and said he had recovered well after surgery.

"When I woke up from the operation I felt like my arm had been shot off, but now I feel pretty good. I've got a few painkillers on the go," he said.

The night featured tributes to the retired players and coach John Buchanan, whose contract expires after the World Cup. Tim Nielsen will succeed Buchanan.

Former greats Richie Benaud and Charles Macartney were inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame, and Benaud described his rapturous ovation as "one of the most moving receptions that I've ever been given".

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