Perhaps one of the best indications of Australian cricket being in the doldrums is the fact that Shane Watson has won the Allan Border medal for the second successive year. Not only that, but he won the awards for the best Test and ODI player too.
Now we’re not exactly big fans of Watson here at the Reverse Sweep, but this post isn’t intended to be a dig at Twatto, but more that someone who did okay – no more – can scoop all the big prizes.
Watson’s Test record for the qualification period was decent but hardly spectacular - 847 runs at 44.57 and 16 wickets at 29.25. He only scored the one hundred – an admittedly excellent knock at Mohali - and other than that he perfected the art of reaching 50 and then getting out as well as providing hilarity by serially running his batting partner out.
In ODIs, Watson’s record was similarly steady but hardly earth shattering with 858 runs at 40.85 and 20 wickets at 26.60. Again, he only registered the one hundred – that magnificent 161 not out against England at Melbourne.
But when you look who his closest challengers were, it is difficult to find an argument for not giving Watson the awards. In the Test category, Mitchell Johnson was runner-up and Mike Hussey was third. Anyone who saw Johnson bowl at Brisbane in the Ashes may find this rather amusing. They must have been rolling in the aisles when they discovered that Marcus North came fourth.
Whilst in the ODI category, Watson’s nearest challengers were Michael Clarke and Cameron White. Beating a man who is increasingly being booed by his own supporters is hardly something to write home about - if indeed, Watson can write anything more than his name.
And having won the second and third most prestigious prizes, Watson was obviously going to be a shoo-in for the Allan Border medal.
So, it seems Australian cricket has come to this. A bloke that did alright – nothing more – sweeps the board when the individual prizes are handed out, whilst a wayward fast bowler who only performs well on his home ground in Perth finishes second in the Test category.
History will record the years 2007-2011 as Australian cricket’s mediocre years. The only question is how much longer will this era last?
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