Only minutes earlier, Australia captain Steve Smith was crowned winner of the 2018 Allan Border Medal.
The 28-year-old also won Australia’s Test Player of the Year gong at Melbourne’s Crown Casino on Monday evening, deserved reward for what has been an outstanding 12 months from the star batsman.
But instead of accepting the plaudits, Smith, perhaps showing why he has become so good, showed off his ruthlessness by quickly turning his attention to his lack of recent success in one-day international cricket.
Smith, who has made just three 50s in his past 15 one-day matches for his country, with a highest score of 63, accepted the medal, given annually to Australia’s best men’s cricketer, before telling the crowd: “I don’t play for these personal accolades but I guess to be recognised for this award … I appreciate it.
“I want to lead from the front with my performances.
“My Test form this year has been really good but I’ve been disappointed with my one-day form to be fair.
“It’s something I need to look at … hopefully I can have some more success this year.”
Smith’s comments were surprising given the dominant year he has had – evidenced by his Allan Border Medal success.
The New South Welshman, who has now won the award twice, hit 1305 Test runs in the voting period at an outstanding average of 81.56, with six centuries, a year that cemented his status as the best batsman in world cricket.
With Test performances given greater weighting than one-day or Twenty20 efforts in the Allan Border Medal voting, Smith’s tremendous year in the game’s longest format helped him to a comfortable victory with 246 votes.
Vice-captain David Warner, who won the One-Day International Player of the Year, finished second with 162 votes, while off-spinner Nathan Lyon (156) and quicks Pat Cummins (111) and Josh Hazlewood (72) rounded out the top five.
‘No better time’
There was also a landslide winner in the race for the Belinda Clark Medal, given to the best women’s cricketer of the year.
All-rounder Ellyse Perry polled 116 votes after a tremendous 12 months that was highlighted by a Test 213 against England and being named the ICC’s Women’s Cricketer of the Year.
“It’s been a phenomenal year for everyone involved in our team,” Perry, now a two-time winner, said.
“That Test match [against England] in particular was a huge highlight of the summer for us, to see the crowds come out, to see the way the series was received.
“There’s probably been no better time to be a female athlete in this country and around the globe.”
Beth Mooney, named the Women’s Domestic Player of the Year, ran second to Perry, with 78 votes, while quick Megan Schutt (65) finished third.
‘An amazing journey’
Perhaps the highlight of the night was Ricky Ponting’s speech after he was inducted into Australian cricket’s Hall of Fame.
The former Australia captain, who hit 41 Test centuries, was introduced by his mate and fellow legend, Shane Warne.
“When the team needs you to deliver – that’s what Ricky Ponting did time and time again,” Warne said.
After receiving a standing ovation, Ponting said he missed “those great days” and admitted he regularly dreams “of making a comeback” for his country.
Women’s cricket trailblazer Karen Rolton and the late Norm O’Neill were also officially added to the Hall of Fame on Monday evening.
Other awards dished out saw Aaron Finch take home the Twenty20 Player of the Year, while George Bailey had the audience in stitches with a typically humorous speech after being crowned the Men’s Domestic Player of the Year.
Jhye Richardson (Men’s Young Cricketer of the Year) and Georgia Redmayne (Women’s Young Cricketer of the Year) were also formally recognised for their efforts.