With international cricket on four different continents over the past week, there are a plethora of contenders for this week’s Cricket World Player of the Week award. However, it has been possible to whittle down the shortlist to just three men. Virat Kohli, Amit Mishra and Tillakaratne Dilshan all make the cut.
India captain Kohli hit 115 to give his side victory in the first ODI in Zimbabwe and then helped them wrap up the series in the shortest possible time with an unbeaten 68 in the third match yesterday. Mishra, meanwhile, has tormented the Zimbabweans throughout the series and capped an excellent one to date by taking four for 47 in yesterday’s win. Overall, his figures for the series are nine for 136.
It is Dilshan, though, who takes the award. Against tougher opposition in Test world number ones South Africa, he ended a lean trot with the bat in Sunday’s series-clinching ODI to go with his solid form with the ball all series. Dilshan had not passed 50 in ODI cricket since March against Bangladesh - a drought of seven matches - but hit an unbeaten 115 to help Sri Lanka ease to victory in the fourth ODI. That followed on from an economical spell of two for 40 with the ball that had helped restrict the Proteas.
After the game, Dilshan told ESPNcricinfo’s Andrew Fidel Fernando that the new rules introduced in ODI cricket last year had seen him change his approach in recent times. He said, “Now with the new rule, run-scoring has completely changed. If you take the last six or seven months, you can get a lot more runs in the last 15 overs than you can in the first 10. With the two new balls, it's better not to take a chance in those first 10 overs. There are also only four fielders on the boundary later on, when the ball is older and not doing much. When the rules change, we have to adjust as well.”
Besides the aforementioned trio, JP Duminy, Ambati Rayudu, Hashim Amla, David Miller, Dinesh Karthik, Sikandar Raza and Shikhar Dhawan all deserve honourable mentions for the knocks of 50 or better that they played over the past week. Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Ajantha Mendis and Jaydev Unadkat, meanwhile, have each returned four-wicket hauls over the past seven days, while Zulfiqar Babar capped an impressive international debut for Pakistan by taking the man of the series award in the West Indies. In the women’s game, Clare Shillington hit the only century of the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier to date on the opening day for Ireland against Japan.
© Cricket World 2013