India wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has won the inaugural ICC Men’s Player of The Month for January 2021 following his excellent show with the bat against Australia during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. South African medium pacer Shabnim Ismail has won the ICC Women’s Player of The Month for January 2021 for her eye-catching performance against Pakistan as they clean swept T20I and ODI series at home.

Against Australia last month, Pant scored 97 at Sydney and an unbeaten 89 at Brisbane that drove India to a historic win at Perth’s Gabba as they became the first visiting side to win at the venue since 1988. The win also propelled them to a 2-1 series win – a second consecutive on Australian soil and a third straight bilateral series win over them.

“I am delighted to be receiving the inaugural ICC Men’s Player of the Month Award,” Pant was quoted as saying by ICC in a media release on Monday. “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.”

On the other hand, Ismail took seven wickets in the victorious ODI series against Pakistan, before taking five wickets in the second T20I against the same opposition. “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,” she said.

What is the voting process for selecting Player of the Month?

The three nominees for each of the categories are shortlisted based on on-field performances and overall achievements during the period of that month (the first to the last day of each calendar month).

The shortlist is then voted on by an independent ICC Voting Academy and fans around the world. The academy comprising prominent members of the cricket family including senior journalists, former players, and broadcasters and some members of the ICC Hall of Fame.

The voting academy submit their votes by email and retain a 90% share of the vote. Additionally, fans registered with the ICC are able to vote via the its official website once the shortlisted players are announced and have a 10% share of the vote. Winners are announced every second Monday of the month via the ICC’s digital channels.