Clarke equals Punter's medals

MELBOURNE - An emotional Michael Clarke has joined his captaincy predecessor Ricky Ponting as the only four-time winners of the Allan Border Medal, taking the award for the second straight year.

The 31-year-old choked back tears after winning Australian cricket's top individual prize at Melbourne's Crown Palladium last night.

Clarke polled 198 votes, ahead of joint runners-up Mike Hussey and two-time winner Shane Watson, who each polled 165 votes.

"No doubt it's an honour," Clarke said.

"It's something that every player individually strives for every year.

"But again the most important thing for me is that this team continues to have success.

"Without my teammates, my family, my friends, I wouldn't be standing here.

"It is always very special to receive an individual award, but I guess the most important award we can achieve as a team is to be the No.1 team in this country and in the world."

He also thanked Ponting and Hussey.

Predictably, Clarke also comfortably won the Test cricketer of the year award for the second straight time, scoring 1080 runs at 77.14 in the nine Tests covered by the voting period, which stretched from February 25 last year to January 28 this year.

Hussey, retired from Test cricket and dumped from the one-day side, was also runner-up in that format.

But given Clarke does not play Twenty20 internationals and the A.B. Medal covers all three formats, he was no certainty to take the top prize.

Watson was 87 votes clear of Clarke after comfortably winning the T20 award and also polling well for the one- day honour, which was won by Victorian paceman Clint McKay, with Clarke sixth.

But Clarke blitzed the field in the Test count and given each Test match vote is worth twice as much as those for one-dayers and three times that for T20s, it was enough for the main honour.

Earlier, recalled international top-order batsman Phil Hughes, who moved from New South Wales to South Australia in the off-season, was named the domestic player of the year.

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