The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced the winners of the inaugural ICC Player of the Month Awards. Team India’s wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant won the ICC Men’s Player of the Month for January 2021 whereas South Africa’s Shabnim Ismail was named the ICC Women’s Player of the Month for January 2021.
The awards will recognise and celebrate the best performances of male and female players across all forms of international cricket as well. Rishabh Pant has been in a prolific form during the Test series against Australia where he scored a 97 at Sydney and an unbeaten 89 at Brisbane to take India home as well as to register a historic series win against arch-rivals Australia.
While commenting on this, Rishabh Pant said: “I am delighted to be receiving the inaugural ICC Men’s Player of the Month Award. For any sportsperson, contributing to a team win is the ultimate reward but such initiatives help motivate youngsters such as myself to do better each time. I dedicate this award to every member of Team India that contributed to our victory in Australia and also thank all my fans who voted for me.”
Meanwhile, commenting on Pant, Ramiz Raja, who represented the ICC Voting Academy said: “Both times Pant played under pressure in two different sets of challenges: to draw a game and to win a game. He showed his versatility of skills in both knocks, the clincher being his temperament.”
On the other hand, Shabnim Ismail has been in a stunning performance too and also picked up seven wickets in the ODI series win against Pakistan, before taking a five-wicket haul in the second T20I against Pakistan as well. To do so, she became the first player from South Africa to claim 100 T20I wickets as well.
While reacting to her award win, Shabnim Ismail said: “Winning the ICC Women’s Player of the Month in January just shows that all the hard work I put in during the lockdown has paid off for me. This accolade would not have been possible if it were not for my teammates and I am grateful and thankful for all your support. Also, to all my fans and friends all around the world thank you very much for the vote, it really meant a lot to me. And lastly, a special thanks to also my family who have been there for me and supported me all through the way.”
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