Clarke named Australia’s Player of the Year

MELBOURNE, Feb 27 – Australia captain Michael Clarke won the Allan Border Medal as his country’s Player of the Year for the third time today.

Clarke (picture) also won the award in 2005 after scoring 151 on his test debut against India in Bangalore and shared it with Ricky Ponting in 2009.

The 30-year-old assumed the captaincy from Ponting in March last year and led Australia to a 1-0 test series win in Sri Lanka, 1-1 draws with South Africa and New Zealand before the 4-0 sweep of India around the turn of the year.

In addition to his leadership of a team apparently in crisis when he took over in the wake of a 3-1 home Ashes defeat, Clarke has performed brilliantly with the bat.

He has scored five centuries in 11 tests since becoming skipper, hitting 1,167 runs at an average of 68.65 with his high score of 329 not out coming against the Indians in the second test at the Sydney Cricket Ground last month.

Clarke succeeds test vice captain Shane Watson as the holder of the award after the all rounder, who returned from injury to the international fold yesterday, won it back-to-back in 2010 and 2011.

Spin-bowling great Shane Warne, who retired from international cricket five years ago, also became the 35th player to be inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame at the ceremony in Melbourne’s Crown Casino. – Reuters