Pakistan skipper Babar Azam was on Monday voted as the ICC ‘Men’s Player of the Month’ for March, while Australian opener Rachael Haynes bagged the honour among women. Azam scooped the honour following a number of thrilling batting displays in Pakistan’s multi-format series against Australia. Amassing 390 runs in the pulsating Test series, his supreme contribution was highlighted by his record-breaking innings of 196 in the second Test, salvaging a draw for his side against the odds on the final day in Karachi.
At the forefront of his side’s batting unit, his exploits during the subsequent ODI battles that took place in March also cemented Azam’s claim as the standout player in international cricket during the month.
Azam received the award ahead of fellow nominees Kraigg Brathwaite (West Indies) and Pat Cummins (Australia), and in doing so, became the first player to win the award on two occasions, after being crowned in April 2021.
Speaking about Azam’s phenomenal performances in March, member of the voting panel and former West Indies international Daren Ganga said, “Babar wins this award not only because of the significant glut of runs scored during the Pakistan vs Australia tour, but also because his success with the bat across formats.” “Being able to fulfil the burden of expectation as a captain and batter for Pakistan as host to an Australian team visiting after 24 years is a monumental achievement.” Haynes bagged the honour on the back of a formidable set of displays on the road to Australia’s seventh ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup title.
Scoring 429 priceless runs in eight matches at an average of 61.28, her extraordinary feats at the top of the order proved crucial to her side’s unbeaten run to the final, where they subsequently overcame England to cap a thrilling tournament.
She pipped fellow nominees Sophie Ecclestone (England) and Laura Wolvaardt (South Africa) to win the award.
“Rachael Haynes has displayed tremendous consistency for Australia,” remarked former Pakistan skipper Sana Mir.
“She set the tone for the tournament with a big hundred in their first game and her contributions throughout the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup set a platform for the other batters to build on. Haynes is a quality batter and a leader in women’s game.”
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