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Ireland's Harry Tector, Thailand's Thipatcha Putthawong clinch ICC Player of the Month awards for May

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Dubai, June 12 (IANS) In-form Ireland batter Harry Tector and Thailand's teenage sensation Thipatcha Putthawong on Monday were adjudged the winners of ICC Player of the Month awards for May 2023.

While Tector became the first Irish player to win the ICC Men's Player of the Month award, Thipatcha's win means it is the second consecutive time Thailand won Women's Player of the Month award after skipper Naruemol Chaiwai's win in April.

Tector beat competition from Najmul Hossain Shanto of Bangladesh and Babar Azam of Pakistan for the award. In the month of May, Tector produced some eye-catching displays of batting during Ireland's ODI series against Bangladesh.

"I'm delighted with the Award and would like to thank those who voted for me, however, cricket is a team sport first-and-foremost, so the Award is more a reflection on the performances and progress of the Ireland Men's squad. Without the support of Heinrich (Malan), Andrew (Balbirnie) and the dedicated group of coaches and players I work with, I wouldn't have been able to win this Award," said Tector to ICC.

An unbeaten 21 before the rain intervened in the first outing was followed by Tector's highlight of the month, a brutal career-best knock of 140 in 113 balls which featured ten sixes and helped Ireland post a formidable total of 319.

They were unable to defend the total however, and even in defeat during the final ODI, the Ireland batter contributed strongly with an innings of 45. His next assignment will be the Men's Cricket World Cup qualifiers, where Ireland will be vying for final two spots in Men's ODI World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe.

"While Laura (Delany) and Eimear (Richardson) have won the Women's equivalent, this is the first time an Irish player has picked up the Men's Award. While a personal privilege, I believe it won't be too much longer until more Irish players are being recognised this way."

"Thanks to the ICC - but I'm sure you'll understand that this will only be a brief moment of reflection as we have a crucial Qualifier starting in a matter of days, and our focus will be solely on that over the coming weeks," he added.

Meanwhile, Thipatcha fought off challenges from Sri Lanka duo of Chamari Athapaththu and Harshitha Madavi to win this month's award. The left-arm spinner took 11 wickets in four T20Is during the performance period at a staggering average of 1.54 at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

She enjoyed successive spells of four wickets for three runs, three for three, and three for two against the Philippines, Malaysia and Myanmar respectively in Thailand's surge to the gold medal.

"I am very happy to be recognized as the ICC Women's Player of the Month. I would like to express my gratitude to the Cricket Association of Thailand for my aiding development and always trusting in my abilities."

"I am very honoured to be given the opportunity to represent my country and put in important performances during the SEA Games. I would like to express my appreciation to all the voters that contributed to this prize. I will keep trying to develop myself as a cricketer and hope everyone follows my progression and Thailand's success in the future," she said.

ICC Player of the Month voting panel member, former West Indies player, Stacy Ann King revealed her reasons for voting for her. "While she is up against two well-known and recognized names in Chamari and Harshitha, Putthawong's outstanding figures, totalling 11 wickets with just 17 runs conceded is a majestic achievement by the 19-year-old, and that should be acknowledged."

--IANS

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