Ponting favourite for Allan Border Medal: Nilesen

February 25th, 2008 - 9:33 pm ICT by admin  

Melbourne, Feb 25 (IANS) Runs might not be flowing with great consistency from Australian skipper Ricky Ponting’s bat this series, but he still remains coach Tim Neilsen’s pick for the Allan Border Medal to be announced Tuesday. If he wins, it would be Ponting’s third consecutive crack at the prestigious award. Opener Matthew Hayden and Australian pace spearhead Brett Lee are close contenders. Hayden was the top scorer during Australia’s victorious World Cup campaign and Lee was Australia’s bowler of the year by a long stretch.

“It’s a good one, isn’t it,” Nielsen was quoted as saying in ‘The Age’ Monday. “Ricky Ponting played so well through the World Cup and then through the Australian summer and had a little bit of a flat spot at the end.

“We’ve had different guys who have played so well throughout the summer. Matthew Hayden played brilliantly throughout the whole summer. Brett Lee has had a brilliant summer. Although missing the World Cup.

“They are probably the three that I’d look at. If I had to put my money on the line, I’d probably say Ponting at the moment, but I’m not sure,” he said.

Nielsen feels that it would be close call among the three.

“From a voting point of view that is going to be very close. In the end it is nice when it is so close because it means we have had three or four or five players who have played really well and that’s how we want it to be.”

In what has been a year of incredible highs, lows and controversies for Andrew Symonds - the burly Queenslander could be the surprise packet for the Test ‘Cricketer of the Year’ category.

Symonds had the highest Test average for the past year, scoring 513 runs at 85.5. He also took 11 wickets at an average of 25.27.

In the one-day international award, Michael Clarke has a chance despite scoring fewer runs than reigning champion Ponting and Hayden. He’s rated highly because of his bowling and fielding efforts, while Lee must also be in with a shot, having captured 40 scalps at 20.58.

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