Dubai, May 9 (IANS) The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday announced the winners of the ICC Player of the Month awards for April 2023 with Pakistan’s Fakhar Zaman and Naruemol Chaiwai of Thailand bagging the award for their brilliant performance throughout last month.
Fakhar won the ICC Men’s Player of the Month award and Thailand skipper Chaiwai secured the ICC Women’s Player of the Month after both produced dominant match-winning performances for their countries in the One-Day International (ODI) format, the ICC informed in a media release.
Both batters were identified as April’s outstanding performers following a vote conducted among a specialist panel comprising ICC Hall of Famers, former international players, and media representatives, who, in combination with global cricket fans, had been voting since the nominees were announced last week.
Fakhar overcame fellow nominees Mark Chapman (New Zealand) and Prabath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka) in the global vote.
The left-handed batter became the first Pakistani player to win the monthly accolade since Sidra Ameen in November 2022 and did so on the back of two crucial match-winning centuries in team’s ODI series success against touring New Zealand.
Following a quiet T20I series, Fakhar was at the forefront of his side’s success in the subsequent ODI showdowns. Chasing 289 in the first match in Rawalpindi, the batter enjoyed a 124-run opening stand with Imam-ul-Haq in a superb display of control and counter-attacking play, eventually securing a five-wicket win thanks to 117 runs in 114 balls.
Set a mammoth target of 337 in the second ODI at the same venue, Fakhar once again shone in an outstanding display of hitting and partnership building. His memorable, unbeaten 180 in 144 balls was the key contribution as Pakistan recorded their second-highest-ever successful ODI chase.
Reflecting on his success, Fakhar told the ICC,”It is truly an honour for me to be named ICC Player of the Month for April. This month has been one of the highlights of my career and it was an amazing feeling to play in front of my own people in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Karachi.”
“I really enjoyed scoring back-to-back centuries in Rawalpindi, but my favourite was the 180 not out in the second match. I hope to continue the momentum leading into the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, and make Pakistan cricket fans happy and proud with my performances,” he added.
Commenting on Fakhar’s success in April, former Sri Lanka international and member of the voting panel Farveez Maharoof said,”Scoring consecutive centuries against a good team like New Zealand is a tough task. Fakhar not only did that, but he scored big hundreds, and he certainly deserves to be named the ICC Men’s Player of the Month for April.”
In the women’s section, Naruemol Chaiwai bagged the ICC Women’s Player of the Month for April following a consistent spell of high scoring across Thailand’s historic ODI series victory against Zimbabwe, which the hosts won 3-0.
The Thai skipper was named Player of the Series for two unbeaten half-centuries en route to the series win. In the opening match, striding to the crease at 21 for four, her valuable 57 not out salvaged a defendable total for the hosts, who were able to then skittle the tourists cheaply for a 78-run victory.
The second of her important contributions came in the final ODI. A low-scoring affair on a challenging surface, Chaiwai came to the crease at 29 for two, but her 52 from 60 balls was enough to secure the sweep for Thailand. The performance highlights Chaiwai’s reliable presence in Thailand’s middle order and her side’s growing confidence in the ODI format.
Elsewhere, Chaiwai also chipped in with 55 runs across the T20I series that followed, her 29 in the second T20I helping her side edge out Zimbabwe in a five-wicket win.
“I am deeply humbled and proud of myself to display performances worthy of the accolade. The recent series was an important series for the team and myself to cement our progression in the ODI arena. Most of all I am deeply heartened by the voices that have identified with my success,” Chaiwai commented.
Chaiwai emerged victorious from Kavisha Egodage of UAE, and Kelis Ndhlovu of Zimbabwe in the voting process, and became the first Thai player to be named ICC Player of the Month.
Former Zimbabwe international and ICC Player of the Month voting panel member, Grant Flower said, “Chaiwai demonstrated very good batting skills throughout the month, as well as being a fine tactician, and she led the Thailand team extremely well against a competitive Zimbabwe team.”