There are no stand-out contenders for this week’s Cricket World Player of the Week award, with four men hitting centuries and three completing five-wicket hauls over the course of the past seven days without following it up with any other meaningful contributions.
Kirk Edwards and Azhar Ali both hit their highest Test scores during the course of the past week, with Edwards' 121 coming yesterday against Bangladesh in Mirpur and Azhar’s maiden ton coming earlier in the week against Sri Lanka in Dubai, while Kiwi duo Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor also racked up centuries in the third one-day international in Bulawayo, albeit in what was ultimately a losing cause.
An honourable mention must also go to Umar Akmal who was named Player of the Tournament in the Hong Kong Sixes over the weekend after ending the competition as the leading run-scorer.
Of the bowlers, Fidel Edwards blew away the Bangladeshi top-order to end with five for 58 in the second Test, while Shakib Al Hasan also took five for 63 in the same match. Meanwhile, in the desert, Saeed Ajmal bowled Pakistan to victory over Sri Lanka in the second test with second innings figures of five for 68.
However, it is Zimbabwean all-rounder Malcolm Waller who takes this week’s award following his match-winning innings of 99 not out from only 74 balls in the final one-day international against New Zealand.
Responding to the Black Caps’ imposing total of 328 for five, the 27 year-old from Harare hit 11 boundaries during his innings and, in conjunction with an innings of 75 from his captain Brendan Taylor and 53 from Tatenda Taibu, took his side home with one ball to spare. He also top-scored for Zimbabwe A in their two-day tour match against the New Zealanders.
Waller, a right-handed batsman and off-break bowler, first represented Zimbabwe at Under-15 level in the year 2000 before disappearing off the scene. However, being the son of former Zimbabwe off-spinner Andy and cousin of current Eagles player Nathan, cricket was in his blood and he eventually resurfaced in 2004 and represented Mashonaland once in that season’s Faithwear Cup before finding a more permanent role with the Midlands and then Centrals a couple of years later.
From there he went onto represent Zimbabwe A and eventually the full team as he was earmarked as part of the generation that would help bring the team back in from the international wilderness. He is now a senior player for his franchise, the Mid west Rhinos, and will be hoping that his success over the past week has helped him cement his place in the national team for some time to come.
© Cricket World 2011