Fri, 31 Mar 2023

Dubai [UAE], February 7 (ANI): Star India batter Shubman Gill and pacer Mohammed Siraj, New Zealand batter Devon Conway have been nominated for the ICC Men's Player of the Month award for January 2023.

Following a fruitful 2022 in which he excelled in ODIs and Tests, 2023 promises to be the year of Shubman Gill, given his supreme consistency in white-ball formats already.

Gill was handed his maiden T20I cap in the first T20I against Sri Lanka in Mumbai, where he managed just seven, before another single-digit score in the second game in Pune followed. His steady 46 in the third T20I in Rajkot was perhaps a footnote to Suryakumar Yadav's sparkling ton that set up India's 91-run series-clinching win.

Gill then registered scores of 70, 21 and 116 in the three ODI against the island nation, but it was his breathtaking display in the first ODI against New Zealand in Hyderabad that stole the show. The 23-year-old struck 208 off 149 in an incredible knock on a day when none of his teammates crossed 28. Gill got to 200 with three consecutive sixes off Lockie Ferguson, and with it, became the youngest to the milestone in ODIs.

He backed that up with scores of 40 and 112 in his next two outings to close out the series with an aggregate of 360, the joint-highest for anyone in a three-match ODI series, equalling Babar Azam's record against the West Indies in 2016-17.

Gill was not done just yet, as he started February 2023 with a stunning 126 off 63 in the three-match T20I decider against the Blackcaps in Ahmedabad to become the fifth Indian batter with hundreds in all three international formats.

The stylish Punjab batter ended January with 643 runs in 11 matches and innings at an average of 64.30. He scored three centuries and a fifty in this time-frame.

With Jasprit Bumrah out of the setup with an extended injury break, Mohammed Siraj has led India's fast-bowling attack with distinction in ODIs in recent times, showcasing his brilliance consistently, especially with the new ball. His incredible form was rewarded in the ICC Men's Player Rankings, where he was crowned the No. 1 bowler in ODIs.

Siraj returned 2/30 from seven overs in a high-scoring first ODI against Sri Lanka in Guwahati and backed it up with figures of 3/30 and 4/32 in his next two outings respectively to finish the leading wicket-taker in the series. The right-arm quick then bagged 4/46 from 10 overs in a high-scoring thriller against New Zealand at his home ground in Hyderabad, before returning a scarcely believable 6-1-10-1 in a brilliant opening burst in the second ODI in Raipur.

Siraj maintained an excellent economy of 3.82 through the five outings, troubling the top-order batters consistently, his victims being Avishka Fernando (thrice), Kusal Mendis (twice), Devon Conway, Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls among others.

He ended the month of January with a total of 14 wickets under his belt, which is the highest by any bowler in ODIs this year.

Devon Conway also had a fine start to the year, with three hundreds and two fifties across formats in January. Having closed out the year with scores of 92 and 18 in the first of two Tests against Pakistan in Karachi, Conway began 2023 with a fluent 122 and a golden duck the second, the decider ending in a hard-fought draw to leave the series level.

Another golden duck in the first ODI on the tour followed before the left-hander redeemed himself with back-to-back match-winning hundreds to help his side seal the three-match series 2-1.

The form was then carried into the white-ball tour of India, wherein he single-handedly led a stiff 386-run chase with a stroke-filled 138 off 100 in the third ODI in Indore. Conway then scored 52 off 35 in the first of three T20Is in Ranchi, laying the foundation for the Blackcaps' 21-run victory, their only win on the tour.

Conway finished the month of January with a total of 493 runs in nine matches and 10 innings at an average of 49.30, with three centuries and two fifties. (ANI)

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