Starc: Mitchell Johnson is an inspiration
Fast bowler Mitchell Starc says Mitchell Johnson's return to the top has helped his own comeback to top class cricket.PT5M16S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-316hz 620 349 January 21, 2014
Mitchell Johnson's return to the elite ranks of the game in this country was formally acknowledged on Monday night when the born-again paceman added Australian cricket's highest individual honour to his ever growing trophy cabinet.
In a shock result, Johnson capped off a herculean summer by running down overwhelming pre-poll favourite Michael Clarke with his heroics in the Ashes, denying the captain from claiming what would have been a record-breaking fifth Allan Border Medal.
Clarke began the home Ashes with a commanding lead in the count, but Johnson's 37 wickets at 14 in the Ashes, in which he polled the most votes from players and the media/umpires and won three man-of-the-match awards, catapulted him from sixth to first.
Just reward: Mitchell Johnson holds his Allan Border Medal, the icing on what has been an incredible return to form. Photo: Getty Images
Clarke, however, did not leave the gala ceremony empty-handed, winning his fourth Test Player of the Year award and his third in as many years since succeeding Ricky Ponting as skipper in 2011, holding on from a fast-finishing Steve Smith and Chris Rogers.
It was a case of moving from the outhouse to the penthouse for Johnson, who was one of the Mohali four suspended for not doing their homework during the tumultuous series in India.
His career had also been at the crossroads in 2012 after a combination of poor form and serious injury.
"Coming back from injury and having a lot of doubters I just knew in my own heart that if I had the opportunity again that I could make the most of it": Mitchell Johnson. Photo: Ben Rushton
"It has been an amazing journey. Coming back from injury and having a lot of doubters I just knew in my own heart that if I had the opportunity again that I could make the most of it," Johnson said.
"I was very surprised [to win], very emotional. The emotions flow from what's happened in the past 12 months and even before that. All the hard work and the blood, sweat and tears that you go through, the ups and downs of a professional sportsman it all came out tonight. I didn't expect to win tonight, [I'm] very happy."
The paceman finished no higher than third in any of the three international awards but was rewarded for being a part of the national team in every form of the game.
Allan Border Medal Awards 2014
Chris Rogers and Sandra Benarroch. Photo: Ben Rushton
Although it was Johnson's Ashes form which ultimately secured him his maiden victory in the count, the paceman's strong performances in the ODI format, particularly in India in October and November, were invaluable.
Clarke played just 12 of 24 ODIs in the voting period as opposed to Johnson's 19 though the left-armer featured in only six Tests - the format given most prominence by the weighting of votes.
While Clarke missed the India tour due to a back injury, Johnson collected 21 votes, which proved vital given the final margin of 12.
Johnson said last year's Indian Premier League, when he first trialled his longer run-up in a game, was when he first felt like he was getting near his best - but it was not until the one-day series in England where his confidence and belief returned. "Seeing some of their players jump around on slower wickets was really thrilling for me and exciting," Johnson said. "I knew if I got the opportunity to play Test cricket again that I'd make the most of it. I'm very fortunate to get that chance again, I'm very thankful."
George Bailey, dumped from the Test squad earlier in the day, received a small consolation prize by beating James Faulkner for the One Day International award.
“It's been incredible,” Bailey said of the last 12 months. “It's disappointing not to be going to South Africa and I think I have come to terms with that.
“If you are going to play five Tests over a summer you would pick the five we played, it's been extraordinary.”
Aaron Finch was crowned the best Twenty20 player of the year, due entirely to his scores of 156 and 89 against England and India respectively in the four matches during the voting period from February 1 2013 to last Sunday.
In other awards, Cameron White's resurgence in the state arena secured him the domestic title, ahead of Marcus North and Phil Hughes, while Jordan Silk was adjudged the Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year, comfortably beating Ashton Agar and Travis Head.
Meg Lanning won her first Belinda Clark Medal, narrowly defeating Erin Osborne with Sarah Coyte and last year's winner Jess Cameron sharing third.
Allan Border Medal
Test player of the year
One-day Player of the Year
Twenty20 Player of the Year
Belinda Clark Medal
Domestic Player of the Year
Cameron White (Victoria)
Bradman Young Player of the Year
Jordan Silk (Tasmania)