THE man who led Australia's Test revival in the past year, in strategy and in performance, has been formally rewarded for that effort.
Michael Clarke last night won his third Allan Border Medal, and also a second Test player of the year award, for a mighty period in which he towered above all his specialist-batsmen teammates.
While Clarke was beaten on a countback for the ODI award by Shane Watson - he then beat Ricky Ponting for the Test award in the same circumstances - and no longer plays Twenty20 Internationals, he comfortably beat Mike Hussey and Watson to claim the overall award.
The last time Clarke won the top award, in 2009, he shared it with the man he replaced as captain: Ponting. Last night, it was announced the pair were split in Tests, although in all but the top award ties are discouraged.
A year ago, after both endured miserable Ashes campaigns, Clarke was fifth in the Test award and Ponting 10th. This year, the pair sat atop that category after scoring 2004 runs between them: 1167 runs at 68.64 by the new captain, 837 at 52.31 from the old one.
Clarke and Ponting were also the batsmen that tormented India in the past Test series more than any others, combining in a 288-run partnership in Sydney and then 386 in Adelaide not long after.
When both batsmen were locked on votes for Tests - which also occurred in the T20 and ODI categories - a countback was done to separate the players based on who had recorded the most top votes, which ensured Clarke received the award ahead of Ponting.
One of the key reasons for Clarke's stunning year was his conversion rate. Of the six occasions he reached 50 in his 18 innings, he went on to make a century in all but one of them, most notably in his masterful 329 not out in the Sydney Test.
''No doubt it's very special,'' Clarke said after receiving the award from Border. ''You work hard as an individual player but, as I've said this whole summer, the most pleasing thing for me … is to play in a team that has success, and that's one of the things 'Punter' taught me. He said to me for a long time that when you lead a team and your team has success it's actually irrelevant how you perform individually. To see the team win is the most satisfying thing.''