The Indian trio of Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and Axar Patel was on Wednesday nominated ICC ‘Player of the Month’ award in the women and men’s categories for September.
Skipper Kaur and vice-captain Mandhana have been shortlisted for the very first time and if one of them goes on to win will then become the first ever India player to win the Women’s Player of the Month award, thanks to stellar performances in both ODI and T20I series in England. Axar, on the other hand, has been nominated for the men’s Player of the Month following a series of impressive and restrictive bowling displays against Australia and South Africa.
Despite a disappointing T20I series in England at the start of the month, Kaur was in imperious form during the subsequent ODI series which followed.
Scoring 221 runs across the three matches, she guided her side over the finishing line in the first match with a controlled 74 not out, before she clinched the series for her team in style in the second match, striking an unbeaten 143 to seal a historic first ODI series victory for her side in England since 1999.
Another of the leading lights of India’s batting lineup, and last year’s winner of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year, Mandhana also excelled during her time in England in September.
She scored consistently across both white-ball series, highlighted by her unbeaten 79 during the first T20I in Derby and 91 in the first ODI in Canterbury – both match winning contributions. Mandhana also ended the month averaging over 50 in both formats, and with a strike-rate of 137 in the T20Is, underlining the scale of her successes during the month.
Bangladesh’s Nigar Sultana, who captained her side to seal their place at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa in 2023 is the third nominee in the women’s category.
So often a key threat in India’s bowling attack, Axar enjoyed a prolific September to earn his first nomination for Player of the Month.
Claiming a total of nine wickets at an average of 11.44 and with a superb economy rate of just 5.72, he most notably excelled in the home series against Australia, where he took three for 17 in Mohali, two for 13 in Nagpur, and three for 33 in Hyderabad to underline his significant credentials as a key asset for India in the shorter format.
Australia’s Cameron Green, was an instrumental figure in notable victories over New Zealand and India, and Pakistan wicketkeeper batter Mohammad Rizwan, who dazzled with a glittering run of performances with the bat, are the other nominees.