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Suryakumar Yadav wins T20I Cricketer of the Year award

DUBAI: India’s explosive batter Suryakumar Yadav has won his second successive ICC Men’s T20I Cricketer of the Year award, with West Indies’ dynamic all-round captain Hayley Matthews claiming the ICC Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year as the first set of individual winners of the ICC Awards 2023 were announced on Wednesday.

New Zealand all-rounder Rachin Ravindra (ICC Emerging Men’s Cricketer of the Year), Australia opener Phoebe Litchfield (ICC Emerging Women’s Cricketer of the Year), Netherlands all-rounder Bas de Leede (ICC Men’s Associate Cricketer of the Year) and Kenya captain Queentor Abel (ICC Women’s Associate Cricketer of the Year) were the others celebrated on the first of two days dedicated to individual winners in the ICC Awards.

Seven more awardees will be announced on Thursday based on their international performances and overall achievements during the last calendar year.

All 13 award winners were crowned following a voting period which combined votes from the ICC Voting Academy and global fans, who flocked to to select their favourite performers from a blockbuster year of international cricket.

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Suryakumar Yadav, who maintained his position atop the ICC Men’s T20I Player Rankings throughout the year, ended 2023 as the leading run-scorer in the format with 733 from 18 matches at a strike rate of 155.95, and sees him win the award for the second year running.

Among a host of highlights during the calendar year, the 33-year-old batter from Mumbai smashed a belligerent 112 not out off 51 balls against Sri Lanka in Rajkot early in 2023 and finished with 100 off 56 deliveries against South Africa in Johannesburg while also notching five half-centuries.

Suryakumar Yadav, who brushed off competition from New Zealand’s Mark Chapman, Uganda’s Alpesh Ramjani and Zimbabwe’s Sikandar Raza, said he was elated at winning the award again.

Suryakumar Yadav: “I am thrilled to win the ICC Men’s T20I Cricketer of the Year award for a second time. Winning back-to-back awards for my performances in this format is something I could only dream about when I made my international debut. I have put my heart and soul into playing for my country and to see my efforts rewarded with such a prestigious honour is very humbling.”

West Indies skipper Matthews also topped the run-scoring charts for the year, registering 700 runs in 14 matches at a strike rate of 132.32. She celebrated scores of 99 not out, 132 and 79 while also taking five wickets with her off spin bowling in a T20I series in Australia that saw her win Player of the Match awards in all three T20Is against the world champions.

Significantly, she had a run of eight consecutive Player of the Match awards, having also won all three in a preceding series in Ireland and two in ICC Women’s T20 World Cup matchups in South Africa against Ireland and Pakistan.

The formerly top-ranked all-rounder in the format, who had close competition from Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu (470 runs and eight wickets) with Australia all-rounder Ellyse Perry and England spinner Sophie Ecclestone the others in the running, described the moment as “special”, having always hoped to emulate her idols.

Hayley Matthews: “I’ve been pretty blessed to have a good year wearing the West Indies colours, performing really well and helping the team.

“This is one of those awards that I’m going to cherish forever and knowing that it can make our West Indies fans back home in the Caribbean and around the world happy is what motivates me to go out there and do my best”.

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