STEVE Smith singled out Australia's batting coach Michael Di Venuto for special praise after Smith's amazing 2014 won him the Allan Border Medal at a gala dinner in Sydney.
The 25-year-old became the youngest recipient of the prestigious award since Michael Clarke in 2004-05, comfortably beating closest rivals David Warner, Mitchell Johnson and Aaron Finch across the line.
Smith, the current Test stand-in skipper for Clarke, also took out the Test and one-day international player of the year awards, and said some wise words from former Tasmanian star batsman Di Venuto helped his rapid transformation from talented prospect to world-class batsman.
"It was during the Ashes after the Adelaide Test (in the 2013-14 summer) and I asked Michael, 'Why can't I get runs?'" Smith said.
"He said, 'You're not out of form, you're just out of runs - it'll come.'"
Australian Test legend Adam Gilchrist also delivered a fine speech after joining the Hall of Fame, alongside the late Jack Ryder, known as the "King of Collingwood".
Gilchrist saved special praise for his wife Mel for sticking by him, and his father Stan, who was recently awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his work with the Lord's Taverners - a non-profit organisation in northern New South Wales that helps young people reach their goals.
Other award winners last night were Glenn Maxwell (T20 Player of the Year), Meg Lanning (Belinda Clark Award), Sean Abbott (Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year) and Jason Behrendorff (Domestic Player of the Year).
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