Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne enjoyed brilliant years with the bat. Picture: AAP Images
Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne enjoyed brilliant years with the bat. Picture: AAP Images

Who will take out Allan Border Medal?

GOLDEN boy Patrick Cummins has been backed by teammates to create history and become the first bowler to win back-to-back Allan Border Medals.

Cummins, 26, was this week named the ICC Test Player of the Year with his 59 wickets in 2019 a staggering 14 more than Nathan Lyon at No.2.

Cummins (12 Tests) enjoyed the most prolific calendar year by an Australian fast bowler since Mitchell Johnson grabbed 63 wickets from 13 Tests in 2009.

A survey of some of Australia's top cricketers revealed that Cummins was the popular choice to join Ricky Ponting (2004, 2006-07, 2009), Michael Clarke (2005, 2009, 2012-13), Shane Watson (2010-11), David Warner (2016-17) and Steve Smith (2015, 2018) as a multiple AB Medal recipient.

Cummins would also become the youngest player to win the prestigious award twice.

"Hard to go past Pat Cummins," Australia's white-ball captain Aaron Finch said.

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"Playing most games in all formats … I can't see anyone pipping Patty Cummins. Now I've thought about it more, I think that he might win it by the length of the straight, and it'll be a fight for who's second and third."

Voting closed after this month's Sydney Test, with the current ODI series in India - which includes Warner's fifth century of the summer - counting towards next year's medal.

Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon formed a dynamic duo in 2019. Picture: AAP Images
Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon formed a dynamic duo in 2019. Picture: AAP Images

While Mitchell Starc played just one Ashes Test, he started the medal cycle with a 10-wicket haul against Sri Lanka, finished it with 29 wickets in five home Tests and, in the middle, he dominated the World Cup with 27 scalps.

Starc has never won the medal.

Cummins went wicketless in just three out of 23 Test innings and was the leading wicket-taker at the Ashes (29), jagging six more scalps than England's Stuart Broad.

The awards ceremony will be held at Melbourne's Crown Palladium on February 10, which is two days after the Big Bash final and before the white-ball squad jets to South Africa.

Smith said that Cummins had taken "a mountain of wickets in all forms of the game" and would go back-to-back after another "terrific year".

Josh Hazlewood wants a bowler to salute and thought it would be Cummins in a close finish.

Cummins noted that a batter usually wins it, and he was right. The only specialist bowlers to top the votes are fellow quicks Glenn McGrath (2000), Brett Lee (2008), Johnson (2014) and Cummins last year.

Marnus Labuschagne backed mentor Smith to secure a third crown from Cummins and Lyon.

"Pat Cummins has to probably be favourite. But Steve Smith - can you really not win it with the performance in the Ashes?" Labuschagne said.

"Like, in the toughest batting conditions in Test cricket he averaged (110.6), and scored 800 (774) runs in seven innings.

"That's extraordinary. Thirdly, Nathan Lyon. He's taken a lot of wickets, he's been very consistent and there's no better off-spinner in the world and in Australian conditions he just keeps showing why he's the best.

"Every other team keeps searching for spinners and we have the luxury of Nathan Lyon."

Kane Richardson suspected it would be out of Cummins and Labuschagne, backing Cummins because he played all three formats.

AB MEDAL TIPS

Steve Smith: Pat Cummins

Aaron Finch: Pat Cummins

Josh Hazlewood: Pat Cummins

Marnus Labuschagne: Steve Smith

Kane Richardson: Pat Cummins

Adam Zampa: Mitchell Starc


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