Indian swashbuckling wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has pipped England’s Joe Root and Ireland’s Paul Stirling to win the inaugural ‘ICC Men’s Player of the Month’ award for the month of January following his impactful performances that paved the way for his team to script a triumph for the ages in Australia.
Having been dropped from the opening Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy at the Adelaide Oval, Rishabh Pant responded to the snub in the best possible manner as he played two of the all-time great 4th innings knock by an Indian in Test cricket.
Pant scored a whirlwind 97 off 118 balls on a fifth-day track at the Sydney Cricket Ground even as India were battling to save the Test match. His knock gave India a ray of hope for an unlikely win and while that not materialize following his dismissal, Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin ensured that the visitors held on to a famous draw.
Then in the final Test, Pant ensured that he got the job done as he played a brilliantly calculated unbeaten knock of 89 to help Indian seal a record run-chase of 328 at the ‘Gabbatoir’ in Brisbane.
Commenting on winning the award, 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.”
A month to remember Down Under for @RishabhPant17 and India ?
Congratulations to the inaugural winner of the ICC Men’s Player of the Month award ?
— ICC (@ICC) February 8, 2021
Shabnim Ismail wins the ICC Women’s Player Of The Month award
Meanwhile, Proteas fast bowler Shabnim Ismail has won the ‘ICC Women’s Player Of the Month’ award following her brilliant performances in the ODI and T20I series against Pakistan Women. The South African pacer pipped her teammate Marizanne Kapp and Pakistan’s Diana Baig to claim the coveted award.
Ismail claimed as many as seven wickets in the three-match ODI series, paving way for her side to clinch the rubber 0-3.
She wasn’t done yet as she backed up his performances in ODIs with a five-wicket haul in the first T20I (5/12). In the process, Shabnim Ismail also became the first South African woman and fifth overall to claim 100 wickets in the shortest format of the game.
First South African to take 100 T20I wickets ✅
First ICC Women’s Player of the Month award winner ✅
Well done on an amazing January, Shabnim Ismail! ??
— ICC (@ICC) February 8, 2021
“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.” Shabnim Ismail said.