New Delhi, March 13 (IANS) Australia’s off-spin all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner was named the ICC Women’s Player of the Month for February 2023, while England’s young batter Harry Brook clinched the ICC Men’s Player of the Month for the same duration.
Both Ashleigh and Brook seal their second Player of the Month awards after winning the honours back in December 2022. While Ashleigh beat competition from Nat Sciver, and Laura Wolvaardt, Harry defeated challenges from fellow nominees Ravindra Jadeja and Gudakesh Motie.
In the opening match of Women’s T20 World Cup against New Zealand, she produced a dazzling bowling performance, taking 5/12 runs to restrict them to a modest 76 all out in pursuit of Australia’s 173. With a total of 10 wickets during the tournament at an average of 12.50, she was named Player of the Tournament in Australia’s sixth time of winning the tournament.
“Thank you to everyone who voted me the ICC Women’s Player of the Month. The past month has been ground-breaking for women’s cricket and it’s an exciting time for our sport. The T20 World Cup was a brilliant tournament, and playing the hosts South Africa in the Final in front of a packed crowd at Newlands was an incredible experience.”
“Our Australian team are fortunate to have a number of world-class players, I’m happy I was able to contribute to our team success over the course of the World Cup,” said Ashleigh on receiving the honour.
She also scored 110 runs across five innings, including a valuable 31 in 18 balls to take Australia to 172/4, enough to keep India at bay and secure victory in the semi-final by five runs. She then chipped in with a crucial 29 in the final, and claimed the prized wicket of Marizanne Kapp with the ball.
“In a month where many of her compatriots put up good performances and saw their team rewarded with another title, Ashleigh’s performances came at critical times and essentially ensured that they won a semi-final and the Final.”
“She showed herself a player with the temperament for crunch situations which is a wonderful characteristic to possess,” said Pommie Mbangwa, former Zimbabwe player and ICC Player of the Month voting panel member.
On the other hand, Brook continued where he left off when arriving in New Zealand in February. He started the series with a fluid 89 in 81 balls, and followed it up with another half-century in the second innings to claim the Player of the Match award as England secured a thumping 267-run victory at Mount Maunganui.
“To win this award twice in a matter of months is a real honour. I’d like to thank my teammates and management of the England teams, who have been supportive and back me to play to my strengths.”
“It has been a pretty good start to the year and I hope that we can continue to be build on what will be a huge summer and winter for the Men’s teams with an Ashes and aiming to win the 50-over ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in India in the autumn, which I’m aiming to be part of both squads,” said Brook on winning the honour.
The second Test in Wellington endured a thrilling climax, and Brook once again starred for England breaking records in the process. He made a magnificent 186 in the first innings which included 24 fours and 5 sixes, giving England a considerable upper-hand as New Zealand were forced to follow-on. Despite eventually losing the match in dramatic fashion, Brook was named Player of the Series for his 329 runs at an average of 82.25.
“My choice for the ICC Men’s Player of the Month was Harry Brook because of the prolonged consistency he has shown and the fashion in which he made his runs during the last month. Younger batters such as Harry seem to be redefining Test batting at the moment, and that is what makes it even more special,” said Sana Mir, former Pakistan women’s captain and panellist in the ICC Player of the Month awards.