Sam Perry and Ian Higgins from 'The Grade Cricketer' podcast were tasked with some of the hosting duties at the Australian Cricket Awards on Wednesday night. Needless to say it was pretty loose, and Michael Clarke bore some of the brunt.
Perry and Higgins have become cult figures in cricket circles, with their podcast and interviews becoming favourites with players and fans alike. On Wednesday night they were conducting interviews with players and their partners on the blue carpet, while also chatting to some of the nominees for the big awards during the ceremony.
The boys made things light and funny, with Higgins asking Usman Khawaja on the blue carpet whether his outfit had been approved by the ICC. Earlier this summer, Khawaja was controversially barred from writing humanitarian messages on his shoes and putting a sticker of a dove on his bat, while also receiving a reprimand for wearing a black armband without getting permission first.
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Perry rattled off his namesake Ellyse Perry's long list of achievements throughout her career, before cheekily asking why she only made 13 on Tuesday night in a T20 against South Africa. But it was a quip from Higgins about Clarke that really captured the attention of the attendees and TV viewers.
Higgins was chatting to Steve Smith, who was one of three finalists for the Allan Border Medal, about the fact he had the chance to win the prestigious award for a fifth time. Smith is tied with Clarke and Ricky Ponting for most Allan Border medals with four.
After making mention of that fact, Higgins said: “This year, the winner actually gets a trip to Noosa with Karl Stefanovic. That’s exciting."
Michael Clarke's infamous Noosa incident with girlfriend
Higgins was of course referencing Clarke's infamous trip to Noosa with Stefanovic last year. Clarke was filmed in a fiery verbal altercation with ex-girlfriend Jade Yarbrough - sister of Stefanovic's wife Jasmine Yarbrough.
Jade could be heard accusing former Aussie cricket captain Clarke of cheating on her, with Stefanovic attempting to defuse the system. Clarke was later dropped from a $150,000 commentary role for Australia's Test series in India, but has since made his return to TV and radio.
The joke from Higgins was certainly well received in the room, with Smith cracking a grin and Pat Cummins seen bursting into laughter. Many others in attendance also appreciated the gag and could be heard laughing. Whether or not Clarke, who hasn't in attendance, saw the funny side remains to be seen.
Mitch Marsh wins Allan Border Medal to cap epic resurgence
In the end it was Mitch Marsh, not Smith, who walked away with the AB Medal. The all-rounder polled a whopping 79 votes more than Cummins in second place, with Smith finishing third.
Marsh's triumph comes after he thought his days representing Australia were done and dusted just a few years ago. But in 2023 he returned with a bang, helping the Aussies retain the Ashes in England, before winning the ICC Test Championship and ODI World Cup.
The 32-year-old fought back tears as he thanked wife Greta, captain Cummins and coach Andrew McDonald. “To Ronny (McDonald) and Patty (Cummins), you believed in me and I can’t thank you enough," he said. “I’m a bit fat at times and I love a beer but you see the best in me always. You’ve changed my life."
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