Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has claimed the inaugural ICC Player of the Month award for January for his scintillating performances Down Under.
Pant played two fantastic fourth-innings knocks to help the Indian cricket team register a famous series victory against Australia.
In his first Test of 2021, Rishabh Pant scored 36 and 97 against Australia at the SCG. His 118-ball 97 in the second innings helped India pull off an unlikely draw.
A few days later, the 23-year-old played one of his best knocks to end Australia's 32-year unbeaten streak at the Gabba.
The Indian cricket team had been set a target of 328 runs to win the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Rishabh Pant aggregated 89 runs off 138 deliveries to guide the Ajinkya Rahane-led outfit home.
"I am delighted to be receiving the inaugural ICC Men's Player of the Month Award. For any sportsperson, contributing to a team win is the ultimate reward but such initiatives help motivate youngsters such as myself to do better each time. I dedicate this award to every member of Team India that contributed to our victory in Australia and also thank all my fans who voted for me," Rishabh Pant said after winning the award.
While Rishabh Pant became the first male cricketer to win the ICC Player of the Month award, Shabnim Ismail from South Africa claimed the women's trophy.
Ismail accounted for seven wickets in three ODIs against Pakistan. Playing three T20is against the same opponent, she took seven more wickets.
Rishabh Pant showed his versatility of skills in both knocks, the clincher being his temperament: ICC
Rishabh Pant is well-known for his attacking game. Even in Test matches, he prefers dominating the opposition bowlers by taking the aerial route more frequently than the other batsmen.
ICC noted Pant's unique approach as Ramiz Raja, representing the ICC Voting Academy, said:
"Both times Pant played under pressure in two different sets of challenges: to draw a game and to win a game. He showed his versatility of skills in both knocks, the clincher being his temperament."