The battle for this week’s Cricket World Player of the Week award is a close contest between four men. Kamran Akmal and Kevin O’Brien both played starring roles in the highly entertaining ODI series in Clontarf, while Graeme Swann and Joe Root excelled during the rain-hit second Test at Headingley.
O’Brien hit an unbeaten 84 off only 47 balls to help Ireland tie the first One-Day International against Pakistan on Thursday, while Akmal allowed Pakistan to avoid a humiliating series defeat by hitting 81 off 85 balls as they recovered from 17 for four and 133 for seven to win the second match on Sunday.
Graeme Swann took four for 42 in the New Zealand first innings of the second Test at Headingley, but it is Joe Root who takes this week’s award after hitting his maiden international century in front of his home crowd.
He came to the crease with England on 67 for three and began the rebuild alongside Ian Bell before being joined by fellow Yorkshireman and good friend Jonny Bairstow to add 124 for the fifth-wicket. The pair upped the tempo following England’s cautious start, with Root defying those who have him down as a plodder by striking at a healthy rate of over 62 during his 167-ball stay.
He became the first Yorkshireman to hit a maiden Test century at Headingley and delighted the Saturday crowd in Leeds. Throughout his innings, he played with a smile on his face and appeared to be thoroughly enjoying the contest with the New Zealand bowlers and the support that he was getting.
England captain Alastair Cook was 21 when he made his maiden Test century in India having long been earmarked as one to watch. He has since gone on to score a further 24 and break the England record. Root is 22 years of age and has also been watched closely for a long time. He has also seemingly been pencilled in, like Cook, as a future England captain at an early stage of his career. So far, their careers have striking similarities. Root and England will hope they continue to do so.
© Cricket World 2013
Open an account with bet365 today and qualify for up to £200 in free bets with our fantastic 100% Deposit Bonus.