Ponting Australian cricketer of the year

The 31-year-old Aussie captain polled 83 votes from players, media and umpires to beat Hussey (80).

india Updated: Feb 06, 2006 19:04 IST

Australian captain Ricky Ponting won the Allan Border Medal on Monday, the second time in three years he has been named the country's cricketer of the year. In one of the closest counts of the award's seven-year history, Ponting edged Mike Hussey by three votes to become the first player to win the honour twice.

The 31-year-old Ponting, who last month played his 100th Test and is ranked the world's best batsman, also won in 2004. He polled 83 votes from players, media and umpires to beat Hussey (80), while fast bowler Brett Lee finished third on 77 votes. "This Australian cricket team is still the best cricket team in the world and as far as I'm concerned, the best sporting team in the world," Ponting said. "For me to be the captain of that side is a great honor and a great thrill."

Ponting was mildly annoyed by a tongue-in-cheek segment screened during the television broadcast of the medal count which featured former England bowler Phil Tufnell, who chided Australia over last year's Ashes loss.

"Quite a few guys at my table were pretty fired up at that," Ponting said when he went to the podium.

"I'm not sure whose idea that was, but it certainly made us a bit hungrier to take on the English who are coming here in 290 days, so we're looking forward to that."

Australia lost the Ashes to England last year for the first time since 1987. England returns to Australia later this year in a bid to retain the series.

Legspinner Shane Warne won the Test player of the year award on the strength of a strong Ashes tour last year and an outstanding past 12 months. He took 93 wickets in a year in which he also separated from his wife, Simone.

Warne was accompanied to the awards ceremony Monday by oldest daughter Brooke.

Hussey won the one-day award. The left-handed batsman won the limited-overs award on a countback after he, Andrew Symonds, Adam Gilchrist and Lee finished tied on 22 votes.

The Allan Border Medal had its first ineligible winner, when Symonds— who would have claimed the one-day award with six matches where he was best on the field— was ruled ineligible because he was suspended for a drinking binge during last year's Ashes tour. In other awards, New South Wales opener Phil Jaques was honored as the country's best domestic player with the state player of the year award. newly appointed Australian captain Karen Rolton was named best women's player for the fourth time in five years. Former Australian captains Bob Simpson and the Monty Noble were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Simpson, 70, averaged almost 47 in 62 tests.

Noble, who was regarded as one of Australia's best all-rounders, made almost 2,000 runs and took 121 wickets with his off-spinners in 42 tests in the early 1900s.

First Published: Feb 06, 2006 19:04 IST