Adair, Henry, Mendis nominated for ICC Men’s Player of the Month award

New Delhi, April 4 (IANS) Ireland pacer Mark Adair, New Zealand fast-bowler Matt Henry and Sri Lanka batter Kamindu Mendis have been nominated for the ICC Men’s Player of the Month award for March 2024.

England batter Maia Bouchier, Australia’s off-spin all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner, and New Zealand’s leg-spin all-rounder Amelia Kerr are amongst the nominees in the ICC Women’s Player of the Month award for the same time period.

Adair featured in all three formats for Ireland in March, making strong contributions in all. However, it was in the longest format where he made his biggest impact, spearheading Ireland to their first ever men’s Test victory with their win over Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi.

Adair bowled superbly to take five for 39 in the first innings, and followed up with three for 56 in the second, which included the prized wickets of skipper Hashmat Shahidi and Ibrahim Zadran. This Player of the Match performance preceded more wickets in the subsequent ODI and T20I series, and Adair finished the month with 16 wickets across all three formats.

On the other hand, despite their ICC World Test Championship series against Australia ending in defeat, Henry was a shining light for New Zealand in March. Henry was the primary threat with the ball in the first innings of the first Test in Wellington, dismissing both Australian openers in a fiery spell that heralded five wickets.

The first innings of the second Test also saw Henry at his best – the 32-year-old blitzing the middle order to take seven wickets for 67. With 17 wickets across his two Tests at an average of 15.70, the 32-year-old demonstrated trademark consistency and accuracy throughout, capping his performances with the Player of the Series accolade.

Meanwhile, Mendia, 25, registered modest scores in Sri Lanka’s T20I series against Bangladesh at the start of the month, but followed it up with a memorable record-breaking performance in the first Test at Sylhet.

Striding to the crease at 57 for five, Mendis partnered with Dhananjaya de Silva to rescue the Sri Lanka innings, striking 102 as they eventually posted a respectable score of 280. Facing similar troubles in the second innings at 126/6, Mendis and De Silva once more re-asserted control.

Mendis’ mammoth innings of 164 in 237 balls helped Sri Lanka secure a comfortable victory, and saw him become the first player batting at number seven or lower to hit two centuries in a single Test.

In the Women’s category, Maia amassed 223 runs from her five T20Is in New Zealand at an average of 55.75 and a stunning strike rate of 129.65. She began the series with an unbeaten 43 to see England over the line in the first contest, before hitting a brisk 71 in 47 balls albeit in a losing cause in the third match.

Promoted up to open the batting in the subsequent decisive encounter in Wellington, Maia proceeded to hit her highest T20I score of 91 in 56 balls, securing the series victory for England in a blistering style as the star player in a 47-run win.

On the other hand, Ashleigh is a four-time former winner of the ICC Women’s Player of the Month award, and her fifth nomination comes thanks to a series of fine performances as Australia secured ODI series victory over Bangladesh last month. The three-match contest saw Australia’s bowlers flourish, dismissing the hosts for under 100 each time.

Ashleigh’s lethal spin was a constant threat, taking three wickets in the first encounter, followed by two wickets in the second and three again in the third. With eight wickets at an average of 8.62 across the three matches in Mirpur, Ashleigh deservedly claimed the Player of the Series prize.

Meanwhile, Amelia ended the recent T20I series as the top run-scorer and wicket-taker for New Zealand. Among her notable contributions were 44 runs in 36 balls in a losing effort in the second T20I, and 44 more alongside Sophie Devine as New Zealand won the third encounter in Nelson. Her 114 runs coming at an average of 38.00 and six wickets defined underlined her credentials as one of the outstanding young talents in the global game.



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