Reviewing Each Batsman of the Month over Past Year: Why They Won, What Came Next

Tim Collins@@TimDCollinsFeatured ColumnistAugust 4, 2014

Reviewing Each Batsman of the Month over Past Year: Why They Won, What Came Next

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    Every month over the past year, we've recognised the world's finest performer with the bat in hand on cricket's global stage to determine our Batsman of the Month Award. 

    Examining performances put forward in the Test, one-day international and Twenty20 arenas, we've honoured 12 batsman who have made the most telling contributions to their teams with sustained excellence in at least one of the game's formats.

    Interestingly, our 12 award winners range from steady accumulators in the five-day game to explosive hitters in cricket's most glitzy arena.

    Across the following slides, we look back at each of the 12 winners, examining what made them stand out over their peers, as well as what came next for each star.

August 2013: Ian Bell

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    Why He Won: Ian Bell enjoyed a brilliant Ashes campaign at home in 2013, scoring 562 runs at an average of 62.44 to propel his side to a series triumph over Australia. 

    Of that tally, 245 were compiled by the stylish right-hander in August, with his brilliant, match-defining 113 at Chester-le-Street undoubtedly the highlight. 

    Indeed, without Bell's fine second-innings contribution in Durham, England could have seen their grip on the series slip somewhat when the hosts slumped to 49-3 after lunch on the third day. 

    What Came Next: After his heroics in the English summer of 2013, Bell didn't feature on the international stage again until the Ashes switched to Australia in November. 

    Unlike his time at home, however, the 32-year-old endured a more difficult campaign in the second leg of the back-to-back encounters, scoring just 235 runs at 26.11 amid his team's annihilation at the hands of Australia.

    Click here for the full article on Ian Bell's achievements in August 2013.

September 2013: Misbah-ul-Haq

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    Why He Won: Misbah-ul-Haq excelled across a range of formats last September, scoring consistently for Pakistan in the Test arena while starring for the Faisalabad Wolves in the Champions League Twenty20. 

    Up against Zimbabwe in Harare, the Pakistani captain put together scores of 53, 52, 33 and 79 not out, before compiling scores of 46, 56 and 93 in the opening stages of the CLT20, the last two of which were both unbeaten. 

    What Came Next: Misbah carried that good form into Pakistan's Test series against South Africa in the UAE, scoring a fine century in the first Test in Abu Dhabi, repeating the effort when Sri Lanka visited the same venue in December. 

    Not finished there, the defiant right-hander put together consecutive knocks of 97, 63 and 68 not out, guiding Pakistan to an astonishing chase in the third Test in Sharjah.

    Click here for the full article on Misbah-ul-Haq's achievements in September 2013.

October 2013: Virat Kohli

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    Why He Won: Virat Kohli confirmed his ascension into the upper echelon of cricket's pecking order last October, smashing two of the most sublime hundreds ever seen in the one-day international arena against Australia.

    Chasing an enormous 360 for victory, the precocious Indian blasted an unbeaten 100 from just 52 deliveries to see his side home with an incredible six-and-a-half overs to spare.

    Then, just two weeks later, the 25-year-old was at it again, clubbing an unbeaten 115 from only 66 balls to see Indian repeat the feat by chasing down 351 in Nagpur. 

    What Came Next: Kohli continued his sparkling form in the wake of India's ODI series victory over Australia, scoring 86 and 99 in his team's opening 50-over matches against the West Indies.

    But it got even better for the vastly talented batsman.

    Up against a fearsome South African bowling attack in Johannesburg, Kohli struck 119 and 96 in one of the most thrilling Tests of the year. 

    Click here for the full article on Virat Kohli's achievements in October 2013.

November 2013: Rohit Sharma

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    Why He Won: Rohit Sharma's first three innings in the month of November were nothing short of extraordinary. 

    Against Australia in Bangalore, the right-hander thumped a colossal 209 to become only the third man in history behind Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar to strike a double-century in a one-day international. 

    That innings was followed by Sharma's Test debut against the West Indies, which saw him cruise to a typically serene 177, only to follow that performance with an unbeaten 111 in his second Test. 

    What Came Next: Since then, however, the 27-year-old has struggled, enduring difficult spells in South Africa and New Zealand, which is a theme that lingered for Sharma during India's campaign at the Asia Cup and continues to hamper the right-hander on the team's ongoing tour of England. 

    After a disappointing showing in the third Test at the Ageas Bowl, Sharma looks unlikely to play a major role in India's Test series with England from this point forward.

    Click here for the full article on Rohit Sharma's achievements in November 2013.

December 2013: Ross Taylor

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    Why He Won: Across his final nine international innings of 2013, New Zealand's Ross Taylor averaged a staggering 140.00 with the bat in hand.

    In December, the vastly talented right-hander exploded during the West Indies' visit of Kiwi shores, thumping a century in each of the three Tests, which included a fine double-hundred in the first encounter at Dunedin.

    Long considered the future pillar of New Zealand's team, Taylor—having shrugged aside the captaincy controversy that threatened his international career—appears ready to rise into the upper echelon of international batsmen over the coming years. 

    What Came Next: In the subsequent limited-overs series that followed the three-match Test encounter with the West Indies, Taylor struggled to replicate the form he displayed in December. 

    However, India's tour of New Zealand saw the 30-year-old hit his best once more, registering consecutive hundreds in two ODIs against the tourists in Hamilton and Wellington. 

    Click here for the full article on Ross Taylor's achievements in December 2013.

January 2014: Mahela Jayawardene

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    Why He Won: Despite reaching 37 years of age, Mahela Jayawardene has continued to be a prolific run-scorer in all formats for Sri Lanka. 

    To open the new calendar year, the supreme veteran struck a graceful 129 against Pakistan in Dubai, before cruising to an unbeaten 203 against Bangladesh in Dhaka. 

    Both performances, of course, led Sri Lanka to commanding victories, which set his team up for a sparkling run in all formats across the next six months. 

    What Came Next: While Jayawardene's form didn't quite continue the blistering pace set in January, the former captain continued to make key contributions for Sri Lanka.

    In the Asia Cup final against Pakistan, the right-hander compiled a critical 75 to lead the team to their first tournament victory of the year, while his second-innings 79 against England in the second Test at Headingley helped to propel his nation to a famous triumph. 

    Jayawardene also registered a sublime 165 in the first Test at home against South Africa, indicating that he's still one of the world's finest, despite entering the twilight of his international career. 

    Click here for the full article on Mahela Jayawardene's achievements in January 2014.

February 2014: Brendon McCullum

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    Why He Won: Brendon McCullum completed only four international innings in the month of February this year.

    In two of them, the New Zealand captain failed to reach double figures. In the other two, he scored a combined 526 runs.

    Hosting MS Dhoni's India, the Kiwi skipper struck a magnificent 224 in the first Test in Auckland after arriving at the crease at 30-3. Thanks largely to that innings, the home side prevailed by 40 runs.

    In the very next Test, McCullum then put together a stunning triple-century, reaching 302 to rescue an incredible draw in Wellington, securing the series in the process. 

    What Came Next: Disappointingly, McCullum has struggled to recapture the brilliance he displayed in February, failing to pass 65 in his 12 innings since the triple-hundred and reaching 50 on only one occasion. 

    Perhaps most disappointing was the captain's forgettable duck against Sri Lanka in the ICC World Twenty20, a dismissal that kickstarted a Kiwi collapse and helped their opponents run to the title.

    Click here for the full article on Brendon MuCullum's achievements in February 2014.

March 2014: Virat Kohli

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    Why He Won: India's Virat Kohli was unquestionably the standout batsman at this year's ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, guiding his team to the final with a string of glittering performances. 

    Displaying a knack for cooly finishing an innings, Kohli struck scores of 36 not out, 54, 57 not out and 23 in his first four trips to the crease at the tournament. 

    Those efforts were followed by sparkling scores of 72 not out and 77 (admittedly, they occurred in the opening week of April), entrenching his position as the pre-eminent limited-overs batsman in the game. 

    What Came Next: Like many of the players examined before him, Kohli hasn't been able to maintain the excellence that awed crowds in Bangladesh.

    Returning to the international stage for his nation's Test series against England, the 25-year-old has failed to pass 39 in the series thus far, consistently being outfoxed by England's seamers in the channel outside off-stump. 

    Click here for the full article on Virat Kohli's achievements in March 2014.

April 2014: Glenn Maxwell

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    Why He Won: The show put on by Glenn Maxwell in the opening weeks of the 2014 Indian Premier League season was simply unprecedented on cricket's global stage. 

    Starring for Kings XI Punjab, the breathtaking Australian hammered scores of 95, 89, 95, 45 and 90 in the space of seven games, doing so at a strike rate just shy of 200.00.

    Thriving with uninhibited aggression, Maxwell tore opposing attacks apart in a manner rarely seen previously to steer his team into the tournament's final. 

    What Came Next: Thankfully for the world's bowlers, Australia haven't featured on the international stage since their early exit at the ICC World Twenty20. 

    Consequently, Maxwell's only cricket in that time has come on the county circuit in England, rejoining Hampshire for another season.

    In late July, the Australian thumped 146 from 96 balls in a Royal London One-Day Cup clash against Lancashire, adding another scorching century in a second XI game against Kent. 

    Click here for the full article on Glenn Maxwell's achievements in April 2014.

May 2014: Robin Uthappa

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    Why He Won: After his team's rocky start to the 2014 Indian Premier League season, Robin Uthappa guided the Kolkata Knight Riders to tournament glory with a stellar run that saw him compile 10 consecutive 40-plus scores. 

    Opening the innings for Gautam Gambhir's team, the right-hander utilised a combination of power and classical stroke play to become the leading run-scorer in the competition. 

    No innings was more impressive than his cool 83 from 51 balls against Royal Challengers Bangalore, helping the Knight Riders to continue their momentum into the IPL playoffs. 

    What Came Next: The knock on Uthappa throughout his career has always been his inability to temper his stroke play and react to the situation at hand.

    In the months that have passed since the 28-year-old's blistering IPL campaign, the right-hander has slumped back to the form that has seen him regularly discarded from the national XI. 

    Currently on tour with India A, Uthappa has failed to reach 50 in 10 innings and has only passed 25 once. 

    Click here for the full article on Robin Uthappa's achievements in May 2014.

June 2014: Kumar Sangakkara

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    Why He Won: Kumar Sangakkara arrived in England this summer owning only a moderate record on English shores from his previous visits.

    Delightfully, the decorated Sri Lankan departed England, having enhanced his reputation even further, compiling scores of 147, 61, 79 and 55 in his four innings against Alastair Cook's side in a triumphant two-Test series. 

    Most notable was his brilliant hundred at Lord's, securing his place on the honours boards in cricket's cathedral, adding the finishing touch to his glittering international record.

    What Came Next: Sangakkara has maintained his consisted run-scoring since leaving England, recording three half-centuries during South Africa's recent visit of Sri Lanka. 

    Although the graceful left-hander failed to convert scores of 88, 76 and 72 into imposing centuries, the 36-year-old has continued to hold his place among Test cricket's finest batsmen, even as he enters the final phase of his extraordinary career. 

    Click here for the full article on Kumar Sangakkara's achievements in June 2014.

July 2014: Hashim Amla

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    Why He Won: After replacing Graeme Smith at the helm of South Africa's Test team, there were concerns that Hashim Amla's supreme batting would be affected by the burden of captaincy.

    Sensationally, Amla's form has gone the other way.

    On South Africa's tour of Sri Lanka, Amla struck consecutive hundreds to open the one-day international series, before gliding to an unbeaten 139 in the second Test in Colombo—the only South African score above 37 in two innings across the match.

    What Came Next: Of course, Amla hasn't had the opportunity to add to his brilliant performances across the month of July.

    The next opportunities for the 31-year-old will come when South Africa head to Zimbabwe for one Test, three one-day internationals and a seven-match triangular series that will include Australia. 

    Click here for the full article on Hashim Amla's achievements in July 2014.