The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced the winners of the inaugural ICC Player of the Month Awards today. This award will recognise and celebrate the best performances from both male and female cricketers across all formats of international cricket throughout the year as well. And, South Africa speedster Shabnim Ismail has won the inaugural ICC Women’s Player of the Month for January.

The pace bowler claimed seven wickets in the recently-concluded ODI series against Pakistan and helped her team’s 3-0 series win as well. Following that, she finished the T20I series as the leading wicket-taker with seven wickets in the first two matches as the Proteas won the series with a game to spare.

Even, during the series, Shabnim Ismail became only the fifth bowler – and the first from South Africa – to claim 100 T20I wickets.

However, reacting to her award win, Shabnim Ismail shared: “Winning the ICC Women’s Player of the Month in January just 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 meant 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.”

Notably, Shabnim Ismail claimed a fifer in the second T20I against Pakistan as well.

While commenting on Ismail’s inaugural ICC Women’s Player of the Month Award, Mpumelelo Mbangwa, who has represented the ICC Voting Academy said: “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 women’s team’s bowling attack admirably. She is a joy to watch in action.”

“In a bowler’s series, Shabnim Ismail walked away with the highest plaudits after clinching and surpassing her 100th T20I wicket and claiming a brilliant career-best five-wicket haul,” Kalika Mehta said to the ICC. “The seamer’s pace, accuracy, and consistency make her unstoppable on many an occasion.”

“South Africa won their ODI series against Pakistan and the first two T20Is largely due to their bowling attack, and in particular because of the wicket-taking of Ismail,” revealed ex-Ireland international player and ICC Voting Academy member Isobel Joyce. “She was the difference between the two teams.”

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