Pakistan star batter Mohammad Rizwan and ace Indian batter and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur claimed the ICC Player of the Month award in men’s and women’s categories for the month of September.
In a highly competitive field, Rizwan secured his first ever ICC Men’s Player of the Month crown after a remarkable spell of scoring throughout September, and sees him overcome fellow nominees Cameron Green (Australia) and Axar Patel (India) to the prize.
The Pakistan star amassed a mammoth 553 runs from ten T20Is, covering performances in the Men’s Asia Cup and the subsequent home T20I series against a touring England side. With an eye-catching batting average of 69.12 during the month, the talismanic opener also registered seven half-centuries to illustrate why he sits atop the ICC Men’s T20I batter rankings.
Rizwan will be a key figure for Pakistan heading into the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in six days’ time, and he emphasised his importance during Pakistan’s surge to the Asia Cup Final, registering three half-centuries in the latter stages of the tournament, including scores of 71 against India and 55 in the Final against eventual winners Sri Lanka.
He carried his impressive form into the series against England, notching four further half-centuries, the highlight being his unbeaten 88 in partnership with captain Babar Azam as his side claimed a ten-wicket victory in the second T20I chasing down an imposing target of 199.
Reacting to claiming the latest ICC Men’s Player of the Month crown, Rizwan commented: “I would like to thank Almighty Allah and express my heartfelt delight to all that enabled me to achieve this award.”
“I want to give my high appreciation to all my teammates as they made things easy for me. These achievements boost your confidence. I am happy with my performance and I would like to take this momentum forward in Australia. I would like to dedicate this award to the people in Pakistan who are affected by the floods and climate change. Hopefully, this will bring smiles on their faces,” he added.
Former South Africa international and ICC Player of the Month voting panel member, JP Duminy added: “Mohammad is an outstanding performer and his consistency has been amazing. He is a player that continues to inspire many around the world.”
Harmanpreet Kaur becomes India’s first winner of the ICC Women’s Player of the Month thanks to her leading role in her team’s first ODI series victory in England since 1999.
The India skipper was at her brilliant best during the ODI series, scoring 221 runs across the three matches, maintaining a strike rate of 103.47 and only being dismissed once. She displayed control and poise in the first match of the series at Hove, and her 74 not out helped her side chase down England’s total of 228 at a canter to win by seven wickets.
While that was impressive, without doubt the highlight of her month came in the second showdown. Batting first, she led from the front with a thrilling 143 not out from 111 balls. Smashing 18 fours and four maximums, the full repertoire of her strokeplay was on show, and as England faltered in pursuit of the 334 target set by the tourists, Kaur and her teammates wrote themselves into the history books.
Kaur claims her inaugural win by overcoming compatriot Smriti Mandhana and Bangladesh skipper Nigar Sultana.
On winning the ICC Women’s Player of the Month award for September, Kaur commented: “It was great to be nominated for the award, and to win it is an amazing feeling. To come out as winner when being nominated alongside Smriti and Nigar is very humbling. I have always taken immense pride in representing my country and achieving the historic ODI series win in England will remain a landmark moment for me in my career.”
“The game of cricket is blessed to have some of the finest athletes on the sporting circuit and to be chosen the ICC Women’s Player of the Month amongst them is a special recognition for me as an individual and the captain of the Indian cricket team,” she added.
ICC Hall of Famer and member of the voting panel Lisa Sthalekar added: “Since taking over the captaincy in all three formats, Harmanpreet has taken her game to another level. Not only providing consistency but adding her usual fireworks at the end of the innings.” (ANI)