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Awards shared out at AB Medal night

By AAP .
4 February 2013 10:47PM EST

MICHAEL Clarke, Jess Cameron, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Clint McKay and Joe Burns have all taken out awards at tonight's Allan Border Medal ceremony.

Australian captain Clarke was named the Test player of the year, Cameron the women's player of the year, Hughes the domestic player of the year, Watson the Twenty20 international player of the year, McKay the one-day international player of the year and Burns the young player of the year.

Clarke comfortably and predictably won the nation's Test player award for the second straight year.

The 31-year-old run machine polled 22 votes at Monday night's Allan Border Medal function, well clear of Michael Hussey, on 15, with Hussey's runner-up finish highlighting the void left by his recent Test retirement.

Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade was in third spot, on 12 votes, ahead of left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson (11).

The voting period included nine Tests - the three-Test series in the West Indies in April and home series against South Africa and Sri Lanka this summer.

Clarke scored 1080 runs at an average of 77.14 over that period, including magnificent back-to-back double-centuries against the Proteas and another ton against Sri Lanka.

He was 334 runs clear of Australia's next top scorer, Hussey.

Clarke's tally of 1595 in 2012 was the fourth-highest by any player in a calendar year, although the start of that period did not contribute to Monday night's award.

He put his stellar year down to hard work and the strong support of teammates.

"Hard work, dedication and some great team support has certainly played a big part, not only in my own performance but in regard to taking over the captaincy," Clarke said.

He said team-wise, it had been an improved year in Test cricket but in the one-day format Australia remained too inconsistent.

Last February, Clarke was named both Test player of the year and won the Allan Border Medal, which takes in all three formats.

The talented new wave of Australia's women's cricketers have been recognised with 23-year-old Cameron winning the Belinda Clark Award as the country's top female player.

Emphasising the youth aspect, Cameron, on 41 votes, edged out 20-year-old Meg Lanning (36 votes). Two-time winner Lisa Sthalekar, 33, was third.

Cameron has scored 525 runs at an average of 52.5 and strike rate of 118.51 in 15 one-day and Twenty20 matches over the voting period.

She was player of the match in the final of the ICC Women's World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in October, helping Australia claim the title for the second straight time.

She becomes just the fifth woman to win the award in its 13-year history, with Karen Rolton and Shelley Nitschke having won four times each.

Cameron was not in Melbourne to accept the honour as the Southern Stars are currently playing in the World Cup in India.

The form that lifted Hughes back into Australia's Test team and launched his one-day international career has been recognised in the top-order batsmen being named Australian cricket's domestic player of the year.

The diminutive left-hander edged out Tasmanian paceman and recent Test debutant Jackson Bird.

Hughes polled 33.8 per cent of the vote to Bird's 29.1 per cent in an award voted on by all Cricket Australia, state and Big Bash League-contracted players.

It was another reward for the 24-year-old, who has remodelled his technique after being twice dropped from the Test side in the past.

Hughes, who moved from NSW to South Australia in the off-season, is the top run-scorer in Sheffield Shield cricket this summer so far, with 673 runs at 56.08 from six matches.

His one-day form with the Redbacks has been similarly impressive, with 323 runs at 80.75 from five games and he credited his international rebirth to his move.

"I've had a bit of a change in the past 12 months, moving states. I felt like I really needed that and went with my gut feel really," Hughes said.

"South Australia really supported me through the last 12 months definitely so that's probably a big thing."

He has carried that form into his international return, with solid performances in the three-Test series whitewash of Sri Lanka and two centuries in his first five one-day internationals.

Victorian quick McKay has been named Australia's one-day international player of the year, breaking Watson's three-year hold on the award.
David Warner, George Bailey, David Hussey and Watson all polled more votes with media and umpires and captain Clarke equalled McKay on that count.

But the strong support of his teammates, whose votes are added to those of the media and umpires, got the paceman over the line.

McKay, who will turn 30 later this month, polled 30 votes overall, edging out Bailey and Warner, who were joint runners-up on 28, with Hussey a vote further back.

"It's something I didn't really expect," McKay admitted.

"It's a great thrill. To win an award that's voted by your peers is something you treasure very strongly."

Watson finished in fifth spot despite missing Australia's past 10 ODIs through injury.

McKay played 18 of Australia's 25 ODIs over the voting period - which ran from February 25 last year until last Monday - taking a team-leading 26 wickets at an average of 25.77 and economy rate of 4.48 runs per over during that time.

His best hauls were the 5-28 he took against Sri Lanka in Adelaide last March and 4-33 against the Lankans at the MCG in January.

McKay has played 39 ODIs overall, since making his international debut in late 2009.

Watson has received a confidence boost ahead of his imminent international comeback, being named Australia's Twenty20 International cricketer of the year.

Watson was a clear winner of the award polling 42 votes, to beat Warner (29) and Bailey (16).

The honour came after he was earlier in the day named in Australia's squad to return from a calf injury for the next two one-day internationals against the West Indies, in Canberra on Wednesday and Sydney on Friday.

The all-rounder is planning to return purely as an opening batsman in an effort to put aside his injury-plagued history.

"It's been an interesting 12 months, that's for sure," Watson said.

"It's nice things have come together pretty well in Twenty20 cricket but the last few months things haven't exactly gone to plan injury-wise.

"But I'm certainly very honoured to win the award."

Watson has not played international cricket since the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka and a previous injury absence also included the first two Tests of the three-Test series against South Africa.

Watson took out the T20 honour for the second straight year, despite missing Australia's two recent T20 clashes with Sri Lanka because of his calf problems.

His golden run of four straight man-of-the-match awards during the ICC World Twenty20 in September put him in an unbeatable position.

Aggressive Queensland and Brisbane Heat batsman Burns has been voted a convincing winner of the Bradman young cricketer of the year award.

Voted on by all Cricket Australia, state and Big Bash League-contracted players, the 23-year-old garnered an emphatic 41.9 per cent of the votes.

Next best was South Australian speedster Kane Richardson (14.2 per cent) followed by injury-plagued NSW quick Pat Cummins (10.8 per cent).

Burns, who scored a century in his Shield debut two years ago and helped Queensland to the 2011-12 Shield title, has now notched four tons in his 23 first-class matches, helping him to a healthy average of 42.28.

He top-scored for the Heat in January's BBL final, in which they beat the Perth Scorchers and ended that competition with 248 runs at an average of 31 and strike rate of 129.16.

He also averages 34.9 for the Bulls in one-dayers and represented Australia A in England last winter.
The young player award was open to players aged 24 or younger who had played 10 or fewer first-class matches at the start of the voting period.

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