Today, on February 8th, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the winners of the inaugural Player of the Month awards. These awards are held to recognize and celebrate the best performances from both male and female cricketers across all forms of international cricket throughout the year.
For the women’s category, the South African duo of Shabnim Ismail and Marizanne Kapp along with Pakistan’s Diana Baig were nominated. Ismail, who had a terrific January, edged past her counterparts to clinch the first title of this category.
In order to pick the winners, ICC had formed an Independent Voting Academy. This group consists of prominent members of the cricketing world like former players, broadcasters, journalists, and some members of the ICC hall of fame. Along with the members of this group, fans have the right to vote. Fans’ votes comprised 10% of the total vote share whereas the voting academy holds 90% of the share.
South Africa’s Shabnim Ismail is named the ICC Women’s Player of the Month for January 2021 for her performances across three ODIs and two T20Is during the month.
Congratulations Shabnim 🙌😃 pic.twitter.com/MsF1NTZ5yO
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) February 8, 2021
Fans were able to watch Shabnim at her very best as she took seven wickets in the 3-match ODI series against Pakistan. In the second T20I, Shabnim took her first five-wicket haul in T20I to help South Africa win the series.
Mpumelelo Mbangwa of the ICC Voting Academy commented on Ismail’s win, “Ismail reached a hundred T20I wickets in their series against Pakistan. She leads the way and is the first South African to reach the milestone. With her pace and aggression, she continues to lead the South African team’s bowling attack admirably. She is a joy to watch in action.”
Crediting her teammates for their hand in her victory, Shabnim said, “Winning the ICC Women’s Player of the Month in January shows that all the hard work I put in during the lockdown has paid off for me. This accolade would not have been possible if it were not for my teammates and I am grateful and thankful for all your support. Also, to all my fans and friends all around the world thank you very much for the vote, it really means a lot to me. And lastly, a special thanks to also my family who have been there for me and supported me all through the way.”