MICHAEL Clarke is well placed to finish his career with more Allan Border Medals than anyone after equalling Ricky Ponting's record of four wins on Monday night.
A dominant year in Tests and a solid year in one-dayers were the basis for the 31-year-old claiming the top award ahead of joint runners-up Mike Hussey, the recent retiree, and Shane Watson, Clarke's deputy in Tests and one-dayers.
Clarke, whose 2012 record of 1595 runs at an average of 106.33 is fourth on the list of runs in a calendar year, also equalled Ponting's record of three Test Player of the Year awards.
Top that: Four-time Allan Border Medal winner Michael Clarke. Photo: Getty Images
An emotional Clarke said his career was the result of a lot of luck to start, and then a lot of hard work.
''For me, it's been hard work throughout my career,'' he said. ''We've spoken a bit about Phillip Hughes and how he's come back from being dropped from the Australia [Test] team. I know at the time [in late 2005] it was a tough time for me when I got dropped, but I think that was probably the stage of my life that I worked out I had to work a lot harder than I was to stay in the Australian team.
''Hard work, dedication and some great team support has certainly played a big part."
Allan Border Medal
Michael Clarke is kissed by his wife Kyly after winning the Allan Border Medal. Photo: Getty
With neither Clarke's awards nor Watson's second consecutive Twenty20 Player of the Year award unexpected, the biggest surprise was the recipient of the one-day award. It was snared by a player who has, without much fanfare, proved himself an invaluable member of the 50-over attack over the past three years - Clint Mckay.
The Victorian, 30-years-old this month, is destined to be only a one-Test player but his impressive ball control and variation has earned him an enviable international record - 69 wickets at an average of 21.91 from 39 matches.
In the voting period, Mckay claimed 26 wickets in 18 matches. His sole five-wicket haul was in the deciding match against Sri Lanka last year when Australia had to defend a below-par total of 231 at the Adelaide Oval.
Mckay was only the fourth bowler to win the award since it began in 2000, after Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath in the first two years and Nathan Bracken - arguably the only winner as unheralded as Mckay - in 2009. He said the win, which ended Watson's three-year streak for the one-day award, was ''a great thrill''.
''To win an award that's [partly] voted by your peers is something that I'll treasure very fondly,'' he said.
Batsmen George Bailey and Warner were joint runners-up for the one-day award, with recent discard David Hussey fourth.
A magnificent World Twenty20 was the basis for Watson winning the Twenty20 award for a second successive year.
''It's nice that things have come together pretty well in Twenty20 cricket,'' Watson said. ''In the past few months things haven't exactly gone to plan injury-wise, but I'm certainly very honoured to win the award.''
The Belinda Clark Award, for Australia's best female cricketer, went to its youngest-ever winner, Jess Cameron. The big-hitting Victorian batter, 23, scored 525 runs at an average of 52.5 from first drop in the Southern Stars' batting order for the voting period, enough to earn her the award ahead of her state and national teammate, Meg Lanning. None of the Stars were able to attend the awards as they have just begun their World Cup campaign in India.
Recognition of Hughes' career-reviving summer was increased by the decision of his peers to vote him Domestic Player of the Year.
A year ago Hughes' career was at arguably its lowest ebb, having been axed from the Test team and then pulling out of the Big Bash League for some much-needed remedial work on his technique, and then leaving his home state of New South Wales.
The left-handed opening batsman's first match for his new state, South Australia, four months ago resulted in scores of 95 and 83 at the Gabba against Queensland. He continued on in that form to the extent where his 1108 runs at an average of 55.4 across all formats forced selectors to recall him to the Test team, and gave him a one-day debut.
''It's a year I'd love to have next year as well,'' Hughes said. ''To be back in the Test fold and in the one-day fold is a really good feeling.''
Little-known but highly rated Queensland batsman Joe Burns was awarded the Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year. The elegant right-hander, 23, has endured a tough Sheffield Shield season for the Bulls but his consistent form last season, and this season in the Ryobi Cup and BBL, were enough for his peers to vote him the best young prospect in Australia ahead of South Australia's Kane Richardson, the paceman who on Sunday fetched $US700,000 ($A672,500) in the Indian Premier League auction, and Pat Cummins.
Last night's ceremony was also used to induct Test great Glenn McGrath and pioneering fast-bowler Charlie Turner into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.