In an attempt to replicate the attention, prestige and honour of the AFL Brownlow, Cricket Australia launched the Allan Border Medal in 2000.
The concept is the same. A 3-2-1 voting system where the player who compiles the most votes is considered Australian Cricket’s player of the year.
While the Brownlow is the game’s night of nights and is a huge celebration – The Allan Border medal feels like a local trophy presentation at your local pub. So what’s wrong with the concept..?
The Pool of Eligible Players
The voting is restricted to players who represent their country. And they poll votes from Test Matches, One day internationals and T20. But to receive enough votes to win, you need to play at least two of three forms of the game.
When a Cricket side is 11 men and of those 11 men only 5 or 6 of them play for Australia in all formats, you can pretty much whittle eligibility down to 2 or 3 men.
Compare that with AFL where you have literally hundreds of players who week in week out can poll votes. In recent years, it’s been a race between Smith and Warner. Last night was no different with Steve Smith winning the Allan Border Medal for the second time.
Flawed Voting System
With only a handful of games and a limited player pool, players can poll votes in losing games. Yes this happens in the AFL too, but it’s a rare occasion. Every few rounds you might have a player polling 1 or maybe 2 votes. Not every game.
Take the Australian One Day side who until recently hadn’t won a game in over 12 months. On Monday night David Warner was awarded ODI Player of the Year award even though he was part of side that lost consistently.
How To Fix the Allan Border Medal
Get with the times and make the system more egalitarian. Right now there is a female player of the year and a male player of the year. Combine them. You can’t tell me that any one of the male players in the Australian side had a better year than Alyssa Healy.
Alyssa represented Australia across all three forms of the game and led Australia’s run scoring. Yes the format of the female game is different. But the Cricket Association could surely come up with a way to weight the votes, or come up with a new voting system all together. The 3-2-1 system simply doesn’t work for cricket.
The Allan Border Medal is on a downward slide. In recent years its become more about the WAGs on the blue carpet than who wins. Unfortunately not a fitting tribute for the stature of the man who the medal is named after.
Do something Cricket Australia, do something!!