CA Awards: Starc wins maiden Allan Border medal, Ashleigh Gardner bags Belinda Clarke award
Senior pacer Mitchell Starc claimed his maiden Allan Border medal while Ashleigh Gardner became the first indigenous person to win the Belinda Clarke award, the top two honours at Cricket Australia (CA) Awards.
Starc was honoured for his strong performance in all three formats of the game. He is only the fifth bowler in 22 years to win the award.
Gardner also bagged the recognition for the first time.
“I never dreamt of ever winning this award. When I took the call I was in complete surprise,” Gardner told Channel Seven. “I’m still in shock. To be the first ever First Nations person to win this award is super special not only for me but for my family and my people too.”
The awards were decided by a voting process for the period 2021-22.
Starc, who took 43 wickets across all formats in the 12-month period, edged out all-rounder Mitchell Marsh by one vote. “I’m not really sure what words to say at the moment. It was a huge surprise. To look at some of those names who have won it before, it will take a bit to sink in,” Starc said.
While Starc managed to keep his cricket going despite a below-par outing against India in the 2020-21 Test series at home, he lost his father to cancer soon after.
“Obviously last year was particularly tough on and off the field,” Starc said.
Looking back at the tumultuous phase, he added: “I probably didn’t play the cricket I wanted to and, at certain stages, I probably didn’t want to play cricket at all.”
The pacer was heavily criticised after he took just 11 wickets at 40.72 in the series against India. His performance in the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE too left a lot to be desired.