Alright glamour fans, dust off the hair gel
and crack open the big dispenser of Hollywood Tape, because it’s time once
again for the Allan Border Medal, cricket’s very own Oscars.

Modelled closely on the AFL’s Brownlow Medal
broadcast, a mysteriously compelling combination of high-school formal fashion
and the slow reading of a very long list of names, the Border Medal is
Australian cricket’s highest and tiniest

Hosted by the apparently unavoidable Eddie
McGuire with support from Richie Benaud, tonight’s ceremony will count the
votes cast during 2005 by umpires, select media and the players themselves to
decide six awards, including State Player and Women’s International Cricketer
of the Year, and will also induct at least one player into the Australian
Cricket Hall of Fame.

This year the favourites for the major
awards are almost unbackable. Michael Hussey has the One Day International
Player of the Year virtually wrapped up, on the basis that you don’t average
above 100 with the bat in your debut year without earning a miniature accolade.
Bet on anyone else and lose.

Likewise Ricky Ponting who, with 1,800 runs
including eight centuries at an average of 75 in the last year is a lock for
Test Player of the Year, and will almost certainly be the first man to take out
two ABMs for Player of the Year.

Dark horse: David Boon will be narrowly
edged out of a Hall of Fame slot by his own talking doll.

Even darker horse: Greg Matthews and Dean
Jones from SBS’s Ashes commentary team arrive arm in arm then bicker all the way
up the red carpet about who likes Stuart MacGill the most.

But all this can only distract from the
spectacle, and when you think spectacle, you think monsters of seventies rock.
Enter Stevie Nicks to provide the guaranteed highlight of the evening. Not the
performance, mind, but Richie’s traditional one-word assessment afterwards. The
early money is on “Brilliant”, with a late charge on “Marvellous”. The fix is
in. Talk to your bookie.