Babar Azam, Shadab Khan Nominated for ICC Player of the Month Award
In the running for the prestigious ICC Men’s Player of the Month Award for August 2023, two notable cricket stars from Pakistan and an explosive wicketkeeper from the West Indies.
Babar Azam, a two-time ICC Men’s Player of the Month recipient, is aiming for a third win after securing a nomination for August 2023. Babar, who is currently the top-ranked batter in the ICC Men’s ODI Player Rankings, continued his impressive form from the previous month, notching up two fifties and a century. Although he faced a rare failure in the first ODI against Afghanistan, he quickly rebounded with two consecutive fifties. In the second ODI, he played a pivotal role by stitching together a crucial 118-run partnership with Imam-ul-Haq, setting the stage for a thrilling last-over victory. Babar contributed 53 runs to the chase, well-supported by Imam (91 runs) and the lower-order. His consistent performance extended to the Asia Cup, where he delivered a stunning 151 runs off 131 balls against Nepal, becoming the fastest player in history to achieve 19 ODI centuries. This ton also leveled him with Javed Miandad and Saeed Anwar for the most centuries (31) across all formats for Pakistan.
Pakistan’s star all-rounder, Shadab Khan, made significant contributions with both bat and ball throughout August, earning him a Player of the Month nomination. In the opening ODI against Afghanistan, his 39 runs off 50 balls helped Pakistan post a respectable total of 201. With the ball, he took the wicket of Abdul Rahman as Pakistan bundled out Afghanistan for just 59. Shadab’s batting prowess shone again in the second ODI, where his 48 off 35 balls earned him the Player of the Match award. His remarkable performance alongside the lower-order batsmen turned the tide, securing a thrilling victory for Pakistan. Shadab continued to excel with the ball in the final ODI, claiming figures of 3/42, which included key wickets, sealing Pakistan’s 3-0 series sweep. His impressive form carried over to the Asia Cup opener, where he took four wickets against Nepal, displaying his spin and guile with figures of 4/27.
Nicholas Pooran made a significant impact in August, especially against the Indian cricket team, as the West Indies ended a six-year drought against India with a T20I series victory. In the first T20I, Pooran played a measured innings, scoring 41 runs off 34 balls, helping West Indies reach a total of 149/6. This total proved sufficient as the Windies secured a thrilling four-run win over India. Pooran’s composed performance was followed by an explosive 67 runs off 40 balls in the next match, featuring six fours and four sixes. Despite a collapse after his dismissal, West Indies’ ninth-wicket pair secured the win in a tense encounter. However, Pooran faced setbacks in the third and fourth T20Is, scoring 20 and one respectively, allowing India to stage a comeback in the series. In the final match, Pooran smashed a crucial 47 runs off 35 balls, leading West Indies to an eight-wicket victory while chasing 166. His overall performance, with 176 runs at a strike rate of 141.93, earned Pooran the Player of the Series title as the highest run-scorer.
These three cricketing talents have certainly left their mark on the cricketing world in August 2023, and their outstanding performances have earned them nominations for the ICC Men’s Player of the Month Award.