ISLAMABAD, Sep 12 (APP): Pakistan’s skipper Babar Azam was crowned ICC Men’s Player of the Month when the International Cricket Council revealed the latest winners from a host of stellar international performances during August.
Babar Azam has been crowned ICC Men’s Player of the Month following a scintillating series of scores last month, which included notable run-scoring feats against Afghanistan and a glittering century against Nepal.
The win means Babar becomes the first men’s player to win the award on three separate occasions, after previous triumphs in April 2021 and March 2022, said a press release.
Dynamic Ireland seamer Arlene Kelly claimed the ICC Women’s Player of the Month award thanks to prolific wicket-taking spells as her side recorded a 3-0 series victory over the Netherlands in the T20I format. Kelly’s bowling heroics included a Player of the Match performance in the first outing where she returned career-best figures.
Babar and Kelly take home the prizes following votes cast by global fans registered at icc-cricket.com and a specialist panel comprising ICC Hall of Famers, former international players, and media representatives.
Babar has enjoyed plenty of individual accolades in recent months, and his performances in August capped a surge in momentum ahead of the eagerly anticipated ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, which begins next month.
The Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy holder may have started the ODI series against Afghanistan quietly, however, his form returned in the last two fixtures, where scores of 53 and 60 helped secure the series sweep for Pakistan.
On the back of these strong displays, Babar then saved his best performance for his last August outing – the opening Asia Cup fixture against Nepal in Multan. At one stage 25 for two, he displayed control and flair in stabilizing the Pakistan innings, before launching a wave of aggressive strokes to propel them to a mammoth 342 score, eventually ending with 151 from 131 balls.
In total, Babar’s 264 runs in the month came at an average of 66 and at a strike rate of 92.30.
Reacting to his award win, Babar said, “I am delighted to be named ICC Player of the Month for August 2023. The past month has been extraordinary for my team and me as we have put in some terrific performances. With the Asia Cup coming to Pakistan after such a long time, it was great to play in front of the passionate and cricket-loving crowds of Multan and Lahore. That I scored my second ODI score of 150-plus in front of my own people in Multan doubled the joy.”
“I am looking forward to making the most of the form as we head into an exciting phase of cricket with the backend of the Asia Cup nearing and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup around the corner. My team and I are eager to bring joy and happiness to the millions of Pakistan fans,” he added.
Babar wins his third prize edging out compatriot Shadab Khan, who excelled with the ball in the same fixtures, and the primary architect of the West Indies’ T20I series victory over India, Nicholas Pooran.
In the Women’s category, Arlene Kelly won her first Player of the Month award after her efforts helped Ireland blitz the Netherlands 3-0 in Amstelveen.
With ten wickets across her three T20I matches at a phenomenal average of 4.30, Kelly was a constant menace to a competitive Dutch lineup. Among a number of performance highlights, Kelly’s standout spell came in the first duel, where her sharp and accurate deliveries produced career-best figures of 5-12 as the tourists won by ten wickets.
The pacer then followed up this performance with more wickets, taking three for 11 runs in the second match, and two for 20 in the final outing.
Kelly said, “I’m honoured to win the award for the month of August and grateful for the opportunities that cricket has provided.