Shabnim Ismail bags inaugural ICC Player of the Month award

Shabnim Ismail bags inaugural ICC Player of the Month award

Shabnim Ismail in action. © Cricket South Africa

South Africa pacer Shabnim Ismail bagged the inaugural ICC Women’s Player of the Month award pipping compatriot Marizanne Kapp and Pakistani counterpart Diana Baig, the world’s governing body announced on Monday (February 8).

The right-arm pacer took seven wickets in the ODI series that South Africa whitewashed Pakistan 3-0 before keeping up her pace in the T20Is again taking seven wickets in the first two matches to guide them to another series win, including a fifer in the second T20I.

During the T20Is, Ismail also reached 100 career wickets – the fourth woman to achieve the feat and fifth overall.

“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,” former Ireland international and ICC Voting Academy member Isobel Joyce said. “She was the difference between the two teams.”

“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 told the ICC. “The seamer’s pace, accuracy, and consistency make her unstoppable on many an occasion.”

“With her pace and aggression, she continues to lead the South African women’s team’s bowling attack admirably,” said former Zimbabwe cricketer Mpumelelo Mbangwa. “She is a joy to watch in action.”

South Africa Hilton Moreeng also lauded Ismail for her feat. “Shabnim has been a colossal performer for the Momentum Proteas over the years and I have no doubt she will go down as one of the legends of the game,” Moreeng said in a statement. “She continues to get stronger with each game for South Africa and I can see she is now really enjoying her cricket.

“Her performances in January is testament to her maturity. She is at the peak of her game and you could see how dangerous she was throughout the series against Pakistan. Her winning this ICC Award is fully deserved and will only serve to inspire others around her to follow in her footsteps in the months and years ahead. We are very proud of her.”

Ismail stated that the hard work during the lockdown has paid off. “I’m really happy and grateful to be voted as the best in the month of January. It just shows that hard work during the lockdown has really paid off for me. This accolade would never have been possible if it wasn’t for my team-mates so I’m grateful and thankful that they are on my side and we have a really good team."