Melbourne: Former captain Steve Smith claimed his third Allan Border Medal while Beth Mooney bagged her maiden Belinda Clarke Award, the top two honours of the Australian Cricket Awards. Smith was honoured for his performances in all three formats of the game, while Mooney bagged the recognition in the Australian women's game for the first time. The awards were decided by a voting process for the period 2020-21.
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," he 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.
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). Smith amassed 568 runs at 63.11 with centuries in Bengaluru and twice at the SCG within three days, as well as a knock of 98 in Rajkot.
Ashton Agar bagged the men's T20 Player of the Year, beating fellow leg-spinner Zampa and Finch.
Flamboyant open David Warner won the Allan Border Medal last year, while all-rounder Ellyse Perry had claimed the Belinda Clark Award.
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 Covid-19 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, he edged out Pat Cummins (117 votes) and limited-overs skipper Aaron Finch (97).
Mooney, who polled 60 votes, edged out Meg Lanning (58) by just two votes to take the honour, with Georgia Wareham (50) finishing third.
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.
Money is the ninth Australian woman cricketer to win the award since its introduction in 2002. The 27-year-old left-hander batswoman also won the women's T20 Player of the Year award.
Cummins won the Test player of the year award with 16 votes ahead of Josh Hazlewood's and Marnus Labuschagne.
List of 2021 Australian Cricket Awards:
Belinda Clark Award: Beth Mooney. Votes: Beth Mooney 60, Meg Lanning 58, Georgia Wareham 50.
Allan Border Medal: Steve Smith. Votes: Steve Smith 126, Pat Cummins 114, Aaron Finch 97.
Men's Test Player of the Year: Pat Cummins. Votes: Pat Cummins 16, Josh Hazlewood 9, Marnus Labuschagne 8.
Women's One Day International Player of the Year: Rachel Haynes. Votes: Rachel Haynes 11, Meg Lanning 10, Georgia Wareham 6.
Male One Day International Player of the Year: Steve Smith. Votes: Steve Smith 28, Aaron Finch 23, Adam Zampa 19.
Female International Twenty20 Player of the Year: Beth Mooney. Votes: Beth Mooney 30, Alyssa Healy 18, Ash Gardner, Megan Schutt and Georgia Wareham 16.
Male International Twenty20 Player of the Year: Ashton Agar. Votes: Ashton Agar 19, Aaron Finch 14, David Warner 13.
Female Domestic Player of the Year: Elyse Villani.
Male Domestic Player of the Year: Shaun Marsh.
Betty Wilson Young Cricketer of the Year: Hannah Darlington.
Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year: Will Sutherland.
Community Impact Award: Joshua Lalor.
Hall of Fame inductions: Johnny Mullagh, Merv Hughes, Lisa Sthalekar.