The nominees for ICC Player of the Month (December 2021) were announced on Saturday, with three men distinguishing themselves with some brilliant performances during the month. Indian lead-off hitter Mayank Agarwal, Australian pacer Mitchell Starc and New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel are nominated for the award. With regular openers Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill and KL Rahul all missing games at one point last month, Mayank Agarwal grabbed the opportunity with both hands in the series against New Zealand and South Africa. In the two games, he scored 276 runs at an average of 69.00, including two 1950s and a century.
Ajaz Patel’s name was immortalized in cricket history in December when he took 10 wickets in an innings against India to become the third player in Tests to achieve the feat after Jim Laker and Anil Kumble.
The left-arm spinner only played one Test in the month, taking 14 wickets at an average of 16.07.
He took all 10 wickets in the first innings, but was disappointed by the Kiwi batters who were eliminated for 62.
Mitchell Starc has played a vital role, both bat and ball in hand, in Australia, retaining the Ashes with two games to go.
In the three matches last month he took 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 sacking Rory Burns with the first ball of the first Test. On batting, he kept Travis Head company with an innings of 35 and added 85 crucial runs for the eighth wicket.
Starc was magnificent with bat and ball in the second Test, taking six wickets and scoring 58 runs in Adelaide.
This included a brilliant four-wicket haul in the first innings that helped bring England back to 236, giving Australia a massive 237-run lead.
In the Boxing Day Test, Starc took two crucial wickets in the first innings, including England captain Joe Root.
His 24* innings helped Australia gain an 82-point lead, which proved to be enough as England were knocked out for 68. He took three wickets in the second innings when Australia won with an inning to keep the urn.
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