Meg Lanning’s anointing as Australia’s finest women’s cricketer of the year was an achievement because it was so expected. Cameron White’s return to the dais as domestic men’s player of the year, after also doing the trick in 2014, was equally laudable because it was not.
As captain of Australia, the Melbourne Stars and also Victoria, Lanning has dealt with the weight of expectation for quite a few years now. A sweep of the Belinda Clark award as the most accomplished player in the Southern Stars, plus the inaugural women’s domestic prize, showed exactly how well she had dealt with it over the course of 2016.
Three Clark Medals meant Lanning is now only one short of the overall record for multiple garlands – four apiece shared by Shelley Nitschke and Karen Rolton. Lanning’s 51 votes pushed her ahead of last year’s winner Ellyse Perry (43 votes) and Jess Jonassen (33).
For White, the sensation was more of proving pundits, critics, coaches and selectors wrong. He spent much of last summer out of Victoria’s first XI, only recalled towards the end of the Sheffield Shield season. However a match-saving century against New South Wales in Alice Springs played a major part in allowing Victoria to sneak …