Brett Lee has completed an outstanding year by winning his first Allan Border Medal despite missing the entire World Cup with an ankle injury. Fittingly, in a season when he took over from Glenn McGrath as the spearhead of Australia’s attack, Lee became the first bowler since McGrath in 2000 to claim the major award.
He also took home the Test Player of the Year title, while Matthew Hayden was named the One-Day International Player of the Year. Lee finished with 125 votes in the Allan Border Medal count, ahead of Hayden on 107 and last year’s champion Ricky Ponting on 64.
It was Lee’s first time on the stage at the medal ceremony since 2000, when he was named the Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year. He said it was a thrill to be taking such an important role in the side following the disappointment of missing the World Cup triumph.
“I’m really enjoying that leadership role,” Lee said. “It sits a bit funny with me being called the strike bowler or the main bowler because it’s a team effort. I actually thought missing 19 matches I was absolutely no chance. That was a very hard time missing the World Cup, watching it on TV was very hard.
Lee said the medal was a pinnacle after the low of his lengthy spell out of the team leading up to the 2005 Ashes. “I spent 19 months on the sideline carrying the drinks,” he said. “But to appreciate the good times you have to go through the bad times.”
In a year that was dominated by coloured clothing - Australia only played six Tests during the voting period - Lee polled in all but one Test. His 12 votes in the Test count put him five ahead of Hayden (7), while there was a traffic jam for third, with five players grabbing three votes.
There was no question that Lee was the star in the longer form of the game during a summer when Australia equalled their own world record of 16 consecutive Test victories. He was named Man of the Series in both the Sri Lanka and India contests and finished with 40 wickets during the voting period, at the average of 20.58.
Against Sri Lanka he collected 16 wickets at 17.56 in two Tests, while in the four India games he grabbed 24 victims at 22.58. Lee’s success was not limited to Tests and he picked up 30 ODI wickets at 21.70, however his injury meant it was not surprising that he finished 11th in the one-day count.
Hayden ended up with 24 votes, ahead of Ricky Ponting on 19 and there was a three-way tie for third, with Michael Clarke, Adam Gilchrist and McGrath all on 14. Hayden’s award capped off a terrific return to the one-day arena after he lost his spot following the 2005 tour of England.
In his first series during the voting period, Hayden belted an Australian record unbeaten 181 in the Chappell-Hadlee Series in New Zealand, and things improved from there. He was the leading scorer at the World Cup in the Caribbean, making 659 runs at 73.22, and a blistering 66-ball century against South Africa was a highlight.
A productive ODI tour of India followed and Hayden finished the 12-month period with 1462 runs at 56.23. He made four centuries and six fifties and he said he was “fully stoked” to win the award after he was not part of the one-day team in mid-2006. His World Cup began with serious injuries to both feet but he said that was never going to stop him help Australia defend their title.
“Fifteen months out from the tournament I looked to be in deep trouble, not looking to play one-day cricket again,” he said. “I had a deep fire in my belly. A couple of broken feet at the start of a tournament is perhaps not the way you want to start. It was just a lot of work getting back into that side, and from that moment on I don’t think broken feet were going to stop me.”
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:Allan Border, Australia, Brett Lee, Glenn McGrath
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Wednesday, February 27th, 2008 and is filed under General, Cricket.
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