The nominees for ICC Player of the Month (December 2021) were announced on Saturday, with three men distinguishing themselves with some brilliant performances in the month. India opening batter Mayank Agarwal, Australia pacer Mitchell Starc and New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel have been nominated for the accolade. With regular openers Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill and KL Rahul all missing games at some point last month, Mayank Agarwal grabbed the opportunity with both hands in the series against New Zealand and South Africa. In the two matches, he scored 276 runs at an average of 69.00, which included two fifties and a century.
Ajaz Patel’s name was immortalised in cricketing history in December, when he picked up 10 wickets in an innings against India, becoming the third player in Tests to achieve the feat after Jim Laker and Anil Kumble.
The left-arm spinner played just one Test in the month, where he picked up 14 wickets at an average of 16.07.
He picked up all 10 wickets in the first innings but was disappointed by the Kiwi batters who were bundled out for 62.
Mitchell Starc has played a vital role, both with the bat and ball in hand, in Australia retaining the Ashes with two games to spare.
In the three games last month, he picked up 14 wickets at an average of 19.64 and was more than handy with the bat, scoring 117 runs in the three matches at an average of 58.50.
He set the tone for the whole series by dismissing Rory Burns with the first ball of the first Test. While batting, he kept Travis Head company with an innings of 35 and added 85 crucial runs for the eighth wicket.
Starc was magnificent with the bat and ball in the second Test, picking up six wickets and scoring 58 runs in Adelaide.
This included a brilliant four-wicket haul in the first innings that helped reduce England to 236, giving Australia a massive lead of 237 runs.
In the Boxing Day Test, Starc picked two crucial wickets in the first innings, including that of England’s captain Joe Root.
His innings of 24* helped Australia gain an 82-run lead, which proved to be enough as England were bundled out for 68. He picked up three wickets in the second innings as Australia won by an innings to retain the urn.
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