Esha Oza has been named ICC Women’s Associate Cricketer of the Year for 2022.
The UAE opener was recognised for her outstanding role in a record-setting year for the national team.
The 24-year-old hit 675 runs in T20 internationals across the course of the year, at a strike rate 134.19 and average of 35.52.
Her haul included two centuries, one of which was the second-highest score by a woman in T20Is.
In the course of her run-spree, she became the fastest women’s player ever to 1,000 T20I runs.
Her feats underpinned a stellar year for her side. The national team equalled England’s record for the longest run of T20Is without defeat, as they went 20 matches without losing. Australia have subsequently bettered that record by one.
“When I heard the news, it was a surprise,” Oza said. “It was not something I was expecting at all. I couldn’t believe my ears at first.
“It was just something I never expected. To be the ICC Associate cricketer of the year is something of great pride and honour.”
Oza thanked her coaches, teammates and family for their role in her success.
“There’s many people to thank, especially my family, who have always supported me,” she said. “No matter whether I do well or if I don’t, they have always backed me. They want me to do well for my country.
“My dad comes with me day in and day out and gives me throw-downs. He is done with work by around 6-7pm and we go to the ground and work a bit on my batting.”
Oza said her national teammates deserve to share in her trophy win.
“Getting this award, a small part of it belongs to each and every teammate as well,” she said. “You can’t score a hundred if you don’t have someone running with you. You can’t take a wicket if they are not there on the field to take a catch.
“So this award belongs to everyone, not just me.”