CA review calls for ‘fairest’ element for Allan Border Medal
AUSTRALIAN cricket's highest individual honour is about to get a revamp, after recommendations put forward by an organisational review carried out by The Ethics Centre.
One of the 41 recommendations put forward in The Ethics Centre's report outlined the need for change in the Allan Border Medal - which is given to the most outstanding Australian men's cricketer of the season.
The report explained how it was important to make a change to include behavioural and character performance, similar to how the AFL award their Brownlow Medal - which doesn't allow suspended players to win the award.
"Honours - such as the Allan Border Medal - take into account a player's character and behaviour as well as their performance in batting and bowling (akin to the Brownlow Medal for the best and fairest in the AFL)," the report said.
"In line with this, players who have been penalised for poor on-field behaviour should not be eligible as recipients for major awards. Additionally, the status of the Richie Benaud Spirit of Cricket Awards should be elevated."
An observation in the report noted "over recent years, David Warner and Steve Smith have attracted the highest number of Code of Conduct breaches for international matches. However, in the last two years, both men have been honoured - suggesting that poor behaviour is not considered to be linked to the concept of poor performance."
Had the ball tampering incidents of earlier this year occurred in 2017 - it would've meant that Warner, Smith and Cameron Bancroft would be ineligible to win the Allan Border Medal, under recommendations.
Cricket Australia's response to the recommendation noted they would "support this recommendation" and would "review the criteria for all national honours and awards including the Spirit of Cricket awards in conjunction with State & Territory Cricket Associations and the ACA."
The past two winners of the Allan Border Medal, Steve Smith (2018) and David Warner (2017) are both currently serving 12 month bans after being found guilty of ball tampering after the Newlands Test match between South Africa and Australia.
As noted by one Cricket Australia Board member, the Richie Benaud Spirit of Cricket Awards appear to be targeted at the relevant values, but seem not to have the same status as other awards in the eyes of players.
Tasmania previously won two men's senior Spirit of Cricket Awards (2015-16 and 2016-17), while Tasmania Roar (2016-17) and South Australia (2015-16) won two women's Awards.
"When it comes to playing the game, players still see the spirit of cricket as a 'nice to have' not 'need to have'," the member of CA Excecutive said.
"The Benaud Spirit of Cricket Awards, at State level, are not valued - and it is almost an embarrassment to win the award. Rarely has it been won by a high-performing winning or runner up teams.
"We talk a lot about How We Play - and making our fans proud - but this does not practically translate for the male players and their coaching staff.
"The women's team get it - and are great ambassadors for the spirit of cricket."
In the AFL, a player found guilty of an offence that is deemed worthy of a suspension is ineligible to win the Brownlow Medal (the competition's best and fairest) - which is voted on by a 3,2,1 system by the umpires.
It has only occurred twice in 25 years, where a player won the medal for the best player - but were ruled ineligible as they weren't the "fairest" player after been suspended.
In 1997, Western Bulldogs player Chris Grant would've won the count by a single vote - but was ineligible after being suspended for a week for striking Hawthorn's Nick Holland.
Every ODI and T20I ad-break free during play only on FOX CRICKET this November. Get Sport HD + Entertainment with no lock in contract and no iQ4 set up costs. Get Foxtel Sport. T&C's Apply