ICC Player of the Month: Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and Daryl Mitchell nominated

International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday announced the nominees for the Player of the Month award for the month of June, with New Zealand all-rounder Daryl Mitchell, England batters Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root nominated in men’s cricket while South Africa’s Shabnim Ismail and Marizanne Kapp and England all-rounder Nat Sciver have been nominated in women’s cricket.

England enjoyed a successful start to Brendan McCullum’s coaching reign in the longest format, and two figureheads of their 3-0 whitewash of New Zealand, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root, are shortlisted after outstanding contributions in three successful run chases. The lineup is completed by New Zealand batting ace, Daryl Mitchell, thanks to several key performances through the series.

The ICC Women’s Player of the Month shortlist features two icons of South Africa with bat and ball. Shabnim Ismail dazzled while spearheading the bowling attack in their One Day International (ODI) series against Ireland, while compatriot Marizanne Kapp is nominated following her fierce resistance at the crease in the Test match against England. Starring for her opponents in that same match, England’s Nat Sciver is also included among the nominees in celebration of her outstanding display with the bat in her side’s mammoth first innings total.

An independent ICC Voting Academy and fans around the world can now vote to decide the winners, which will be announced next week. Fans registered on icc-cricket.com/awards are invited to cast their votes until Saturday.

Bairstow was at his brutal best during the WTC series against New Zealand, scoring 394 runs at an average of 78.80. Despite a quiet showing at Lord’s, he recorded the second-fastest century for an English batter in Tests when he struck a phenomenal 136 in the second innings in Nottingham. His partnership alongside skipper Ben Stokes shifted the momentum of the second Test in memorable fashion and helped clinch victory against the odds. Bairstow continued where he left off in the final Test, bludgeoning his way to England’s second-fastest 150 which laid the foundation for the series whitewash.

Despite their WTC series defeat, Mitchell was a constant threat to an otherwise impressive and effective England bowling attack. Frequently arriving at the crease with his side’s backs against the wall, at times he appeared in unstoppable form, ending the series having amassed 538 runs at an average of 107.60, only failing to pass the half-century mark in one innings and registering a century in each match. This remarkable series of scores sees him nominated for the first time.

Root continued his extraordinary form in the longest format, which stretches back well over the last 12 months. His unbeaten 115 in the second innings of the first Test at Lord’s secured victory and set the tone for three successful run chases against the current WTC title-holders, with Root seeing his side home in two of them. Passing the 10,000 Test runs milestone during the series, his scores of 176 and 86 not out in the second and third Tests helped him reclaim top spot in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s Test Batting rankings in June and saw him end the month with 396 runs at an average of 99.00.

Ismail was once again the key weapon in the South African bowling attack during the ODI series in Ireland, taking 11 wickets at an incredible average of 5.00. Returning impressive figures of three for 16, three for 31 and a stunning five for eight in the final match in Dublin, she led from the front to reduce the hosts to scores of 69, 213 and 89, securing comfortable wins in each of the three fixtures. Ismail is shortlisted for the first time since she won the inaugural ICC Women’s Player of the Month award back in January 2021.

Kapp also celebrates her first nomination since January 2021 following her epic batting performances that proved crucial to rescuing her side in the sole Test match against England at Taunton. Her masterful 150 in the first innings set a national record for the highest Test score by a South African female and allowed her side to post a respectable 284 in response to a big first-innings total by England. She continued to frustrate her opponents in the second innings by following up with 43 not out, salvaging an important draw.

Sciver’s remarkable form in international cricket continues and sees her nominated for the second time in three months. England’s batters struggled to impose themselves on South Africa early in the Taunton Test, and at one point stood at 121 for five. Sciver struck an unbeaten 169 to help set an imposing 417 for eight, which would have been enough to secure victory but for rain and Kapp’s resilience. 

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