Starc and Gardner claim maiden top gongs

Scott Bailey |

Mitchell Starc has won his maiden Allan Border Medal with Ashleigh Gardner claiming the Belinda Clark Award for the first time.

Starc was crowned as the winner of men’s cricket’s top gong on Saturday, beating out Mitch Marsh by a single vote to claim the award in a broadcast-only ceremony.

Under-pressure at times from certain sections to retain his spot, Starc produced a brilliant Ashes campaign while at times acting as Australia’s senior bowler.

He was also named as the male one-day player of the year, starring in the sole series against West Indies midway through 2021.

The left-armer becomes just the fifth bowler in the 22-year history of the Allan Border Medal to claim the major men’s prize — with Pat Cummins, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath all one-time winners.

It was Starc’s work with the bat that also improved dramatically in the past 12 months, lifting him above Ben Stokes in the ICC’s allrounder rankings.

In all, he took a combined 43 wickets at an average of 24.4 across all formats while still averaging 26.8 with the bat.

Travis Head finished third in the tally and was named Test player of the year after his big Ashes, while Marsh won the T20 award after starring in Australia’s World Cup win.

Gardner, meanwhile, becomes the first Indigenous player to claim one of Australian cricket’s top awards.

The 24-year-old matured into one of Australia’s best players in the past year, with her half-century in the first innings in the current Canberra Test also not counted in the voting period.

Such was her year, she finished in Australia’s top-three run-scorers and top-five wicket-takers during the voting period across all formats.

Her year was highlighted by an unbeaten 73 in a successful chase against New Zealand in March, which was one of four half-centuries in the past year as she averaged 35.1 in all formats.

It helped the NSW star win the main award on 54 votes, ahead of last year’s winner Beth Mooney on 47 and Alyssa Healy on 39.

Healy did win Australia’s one-day player of the year, while Mooney claimed the T20 honour.


Belinda Clark Award – Ashleigh Gardner

Allan Border Medal – Mitchell Starc

Female ODI Player of the Year – Alyssa Healy

Female T20I Player of the Year – Beth Mooney

Male Test Player of the Year – Travis Head

Male ODI Player of the Year – Mitchell Starc

Male T20I Player of the Year – Mitchell Marsh

Female Domestic Player of the Year – Elyse Villani

Male Domestic Player of the Year – Travis Head

Betty Wilson Young Cricketer of the Year – Darcie Brown

Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year – Tim Ward

Community Champion Award – Zoe Cooke

Australian Cricket Hall of Fame inductees – Raelee Thompson and Justin Langer