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ICC nominates Gill-Siraj as player of the match

The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Tuesday that Indian opener Shubman Gill and paceman Mohammed Siraj have been nominated for the ICC Player of the Month Award for their outstanding performance in January.

The third nominee is New Zealand opening batsman Devon Conway, who has had a strong start to the year with three hundred and two fifties across formats.

Gill’s journey

After a profitable 2022, Gill continued his great batting in both white-ball forms last month, while Siraj led India’s fast-bowling attack with distinction in recent times, demonstrating his excellence repeatedly.

Gill was given his first T20I cap against Sri Lanka in Mumbai, where he scored seven runs before falling short again in the second game. At the third T20I in Rajkot, he batted steadily for 46 runs.

In the subsequent three one-day internationals against the island country, Gill scored 70, 21, and 116 runs, but it was his stunning performance in the opening ODI against New Zealand in Hyderabad that truly stole the show.

He hit three consecutive sixes against Lockie Ferguson to reach 200. Gill (23 years 132 days) also became the youngest player to achieve the milestone, surpassing teammate Ishan Kishan (24 years 145 days), who hit the fastest-ever double hundred in men’s ODI cricket in the third and final ODI against Bangladesh at Chattogram’s Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.

On a day when none of his colleagues reached 28, the 23-year-old hit 208 off 149 balls in an astonishing knock. Gill is the fifth Indian men’s batsman to reach a double century in ODIs. Rohit Sharma has three ODI double-hundreds. Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Chris Gayle, Fakhar Zaman, and Martin Guptill have all scored two centuries.

He followed it up with scores of 40 not out and 112 to finish the series with an aggregate of 360, the joint-highest for anybody in a three-match ODI series, marking the same as Babar Azam’s recorded against the West Indies in 2016-17.

Gill’s 54-ball century was her first in the shorter format. Gill became the fifth Indian to achieve a century in several forms with his superb tonne.

Siraj’s journey

Siraj’s outstanding form, on the other hand, was recognised in the ICC Men’s Player Rankings, where he was named the No. 1 ODI bowler. He recorded numbers of 2/30 from seven overs in a high-scoring opening ODI against Sri Lanka in Guwahati, then followed it up with figures of 3/30 and 4/32 in his following two appearances to end as the series’ highest wicket-taker.

The right-arm fast then took 4/46 from 10 overs in a high-scoring thriller against New Zealand at his home stadium in Hyderabad, before producing a stunning 6-1-10-1 in the second ODI in Raipur.

Conway finished the year with 92 and 18* in the first of two Tests against Pakistan in Karachi, and he started 2023 with a fluent 122 and a golden duck in the second, the final finishing in a hard-fought tie to even the series.

Following another golden duck in the first ODI of the trip, the left-hander redeemed himself with back-to-back match-winning hundreds to help his side win the three-match series 2-1.

The form was subsequently carried over to the white-ball tour of India when he single-handedly guided a 386-run chase in the third ODI in Indore with a stroke-filled 138 off 100.

Conway then hit 52 off 35 balls in the first of three Twenty20 Internationals in Ranchi, setting the groundwork for the Blackcaps’ 21-run triumph, their sole success on the trip.

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