David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne both make compelling candidates for the individual award.
David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne both make compelling candidates for the individual award.

Warner or Marnus? How the AB medal will be won

David Warner's cricketing redemption is on track to be capped with a stunning victory in the Allan Border medal.

Test sensation Marnus Labuschagne looms large as a bolter in a voting system weighted towards red-ball performers after conquering the home summer and his solid Ashes efforts after entering the series as the first ever concussion substitute.

 

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But despite his own horror Ashes, Warner's white-ball dominance and a demolition job of Pakistan in the Test arena, including a career high 335 not out, could be enough for the opener to secure the award for a third time.

 

David Warner’s unbeaten triple century in Adelaide was the second highest score by an Australian ever.
David Warner’s unbeaten triple century in Adelaide was the second highest score by an Australian ever.

 

It would be a significant milestone for the 33-year-old who was banned for 12 months for his part in the sandpaper scandal and only returned to international cricket at last year's World Cup.

Indicative polling has Warner, who score 1815 runs in the voting period, easily the most, possibly achieving around 180 votes from his 26 matches across Tests, one-day and T20 internationals.

Last year fast bowler Pat Cummins, who took 103 wickets across 35 games in this voting period, nearly three per match, and is certain to again feature highly, secured the medal with 156.

 

Marnus Labuschagne dominated the home summer with a mountain of runs in winning causes.
Marnus Labuschagne dominated the home summer with a mountain of runs in winning causes.

 

Labuschagne, however, could poll votes in seven of the nine Test matches he played during the voting period, including the potential for a maximum 36 votes in four of them.

Warner was the second-highest run scorer in the World Cup last year, pounding 647 with three hundreds.

He then scored just 95 runs in five Ashes Tests in a form-dip unlike anything he has experienced in his career.

However, 61 of those came in a dogged first innings effort at Headingley, a match in which he also took six catches as Australia surrendered the third Test.

That could be enough to secure minimum votes in a match where only Labuschagne (74 and 80) and Josh Hazlewood (5-30 in the first innings) performed better.

 

Warner’s shocking Ashes form may not prevent him from claiming a third AB Medal.
Warner’s shocking Ashes form may not prevent him from claiming a third AB Medal.

 

Warner then returned home to dominate T20 series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, being dismissed just once and notching his first ever T20 international century.

Then he opened the Test summer with 154 against Pakistan in Brisbane, followed by his undefeated triple century at the Adelaide Oval.

Steve Smith's epic Ashes, which included dual centuries at Edgbaston, 211 in Manchester and 92 at Lord's, during which he was felled by a bouncer from Jofra Archer, is unlikely to be enough to win.

Smith didn't score a century in five Tests at home and his three hundreds during the voting period pales in comparison to Warner's seven.

 

Warner was the second highest scorer across the World Cup in England.
Warner was the second highest scorer across the World Cup in England.

 

Labuschagne looms large, however having outscored all Test teammates with 1249 runs in nine matches after coming in as a substitute for Smith at Lord's.

That included a run of three hundreds in three matches against Pakistan and New Zealand, before he closed out the Test summer with 215 against the Kiwis in Sydney.

At the end of each Test, one-day international or Twenty20 international, individual players' votes are tallied in a 3-2-1 system, with votes of the umpires/match referees and media combined.

 

Last year’s AB medal winner Pat Cummins is unlikely to retain the honour.
Last year’s AB medal winner Pat Cummins is unlikely to retain the honour.

 

The vote system is weighted, with Test votes given a value of six, one-dayers three and T20Is two. That turns six votes in a Test match in to 36, which puts Labuschagne squarely in the frame.

Cummins was Australia's leading wicket taker across all forms, but went through the entire Ashes without a five-wicket haul, and worked in the shadow of Smith's batting brilliance.

Fellow fast bowler Mitchell Starc also outshone Cummins in the World Cup, taking a record 27 wickets, to Cummins' 14.