It is the most prestigious night in Australian Cricket, as the year’s best player is rewarded for his efforts with the Allan Border Medal. Like 2010, it was Shane Watson who again took home the award, becoming the only person other than Ricky Ponting to win the award, back-to-back. Watson was the shining light in a fading team throughout 2010/2011. He also took home the Test and ODI player of the year honours, tallying a combined total of 295 votes, 100 votes clear of the runner-up, Mike Hussey. Other winners included, Usman Khawaja (State Player of the year), and Trent Copeland (Young player of the year).
The recent back to back Ashes defeats for the Aussies has proved what most of us crazed Australian cricketing fans have feared; that being the end of an era of Test Match domination. It has been more than four years since Australia lost a handful of not only the best players in the world, but some of the greatest cricketers of all time. The likes of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne (arguably the greatest bowling combination of all time), Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden (Australia’s most successful and demoralising opening duo), and Adam Gilchrist (The Greatest Wicketkeeper/Batsmen of all time), all of which were retired from the game within the space of a year, forced the Australian cricket team into remission, desperately seeking upcoming players to fill these very large shoes. Can it be done? Yes it can. Especially with the likes of Phil Hughes, Steve Smith, and Usman Khawaja, quickly developing and maturing into Test Cricket protégés. But the reality of the situation is grim. Australia lost back to back Ashes series to a team that were recently hammered in a series by the second last ranked test team in the world, Pakistan. A re-brandishing and rebuilding period is in order. But if any team is going to quickly rise to the top again, it’s the mighty baggy green.