Dubai January 05, 2023: Three countries are represented in the shortlist for the ICC Men's Player of the Month Award for December 2022, as batting reigned supreme.
Babar Azam (Pakistan)
The Pakistan skipper continues to enjoy a fine run of form with bat in hand, filling his boots against England and the start of the New Zealand series.
Making runs in all four Tests he played, Babar showcased his consistency even with the burden of captaincy, making a pair of hundreds and three scores of fifties in eight knocks.
The month began with his 136 on day three of the first Test in Rawalpindi, hitting 19 fours and a six to help his side to 579. He went on to make three fifties in four innings across the second and third Test matches in Multan and Karachi respectively, finishing with 348 runs at 58 for the series.
Babar returned to Karachi for the first Test match against New Zealand, and enjoyed his time in the middle in the first innings, making 161 in a six-hour stay.
He struck 15 fours and a six in the knock, with his 14 in the second innings meaning he finished with 523 runs at 65.37 across December.
Harry Brook (England)
Given licence to attack in the middle order, Harry Brook has enjoyed a fine first year of Test cricket, helping England secure a famous Test series victory in Pakistan.
Brook compiled thumping centuries in all three of England’s wins on the tour, and finished with 468 runs at a staggering average of 93.60 across December.
The first Test in Rawalpindi was just the second of the 23-year-old's career, though the right-hander's proactive, assertive approach made him look an experienced campaigner.
The No.5 bludgeoned 153 from just 116 deliveries in a blitz of Pakistan's attack, unable to stop the onslaught of England, who went on to make 657 at a run rate of 6.50. He backed the knock up with an effort of 87 (65) in the second innings, and there was little respite for his opponents in matches two and three.
Brook went on to make a crucial second innings century in the second Test in Multan, and carried on with another hundred in Karachi, measured with eight fours and three sixes, though still at an impressive strike rate of 74. Brook was crowned Player of the Series for his efforts.
Travis Head (Australia)
Batting in a similar attacking vein to Brook, Travis Head has shown a knack for accelerating proceedings, with his work at No.5 in the order reflected in the ICC Men’s MRF Tyres Player Rankings, where he sits in fourth.
In Australia’s four Test matches played across the month, Head finished with 455 runs at an average of 91 with one century, also chiming in with two wickets in the team's first Test win over the West Indies.
Chopping on to fall a run short of a century in the first match, he shrugged off the disappointment with a thumping knock of 175 from just 219 balls on his home ground, laced with 20 fours. He went on to make a pair of fifties in the first two Test matches against South Africa, as the side powered to 24 World Test Championship points and a 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Head will surely play a vital role in Australia’s run to the World Test Championship final come later in 2023.