Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane on Tuesday (December 29) became the first recipient of the Mullagh Medal as he received the honour after his team’s eight-wicket victory over Australia in the second Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Mullagh Medal is given by Cricket Australia (CA) to the Man-of-the-match award winner. Rahane, who scored a century in the first innings, and an unbeaten 27 in the second, was picked for the Player-of-the-match honour.
Rahane also hit the winning run, off Nathan Lyon, in the 16th over of the innings, on the fourth day. With the victory in the Boxing Day Test, India levelled the four-Test series 1-1. The next Test starts in Sydney on January 7.
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Kohli hailed India’s victory and praised Rahane. “What a win this is, absolutely amazing effort by the whole team. Couldn’t be happier for the boys and specially Jinks who led the team to victory amazingly. Onwards and upwards from here (sic),” Kohli tweeted.
What a win this is, absolutely amazing effort by the whole team. Couldn’t be happier for the boys and specially Jinks who led the team to victory amazingly. Onwards and upwards from here 💪🇮🇳
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) December 29, 2020
Coach Ravi Shastri too heaped praise on Rahane, calling him a “shrewd leader” and bringing in a calming influence.
“He is a very shrewd leader and a good reader of the game. I thought his calm composure out there helped the debutants as well as the bowlers. There was a calming influence out there in spite of losing Umesh (Yadav),” Shastri said in the post-match press conference.
— BCCI (@BCCI) December 29, 2020
What is Mullagh Medal?
On December 21, CA announced that the “best player” in the Boxing Day Test would be awarded the Mullagh Medal.
The medal is named after Johnny Mullagh (real name Unaarrimin), captain of the 1868 cricket team (Aboriginal XI) that became the first side from Australia to tour internationally. On December 28, Mullagh was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.
“The best player in the Boxing Day Test will be awarded the Mullagh Medal, named after the legendary Johnny Mullagh, captain of the 1868 cricket team who became the first Australian sporting team to tour internationally! #AUSvIND,” CA had posted on its Twitter handle, along with a picture of the medal.
The best player in the Boxing Day Test will be awarded the Mullagh Medal, named after the legendary Johnny Mullagh, captain of the 1868 cricket team who became the first Australian sporting team to tour internationally! #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/3Ymx3QE4dS
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) December 21, 2020
Mullagh is considered one of the best players of his era, highlighted by taking 245 wickets at 10 and scoring 1,698 runs at 23.65 during that inaugural tour. Mullagh featured in 45 of the 47 matches played during the tour to the United Kingdom (UK). He bowled 1,877 overs including 831 maidens. Also, as a wicket-keeper, he effected four stumpings.
He played the third cricket match ever scheduled at the MCG on Boxing Day in 1866 for the Aboriginal and T. W. Wills XI who played the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) in front of one of the biggest crowds of that era, leading to this year’s introduction of the Mullagh Medal for the player of the match in the Vodafone Boxing Day Test.
The medal is a recreation of the original belt buckle worn by the 1868 team, chosen due to Mullagh’s strong connection with the MCG having played in the 1866 Boxing Day match, playing in one first-class match for Victoria against Lord Harris’ XI in March 1879 and working for the MCC in 1869/70 as a ground bowler.
Learning to bat with a red gum bat at Pine Hill Station in the West Wimmera region of Victoria, Mullagh will long be remembered as a pioneer of the sport.