PCA PRESS RELEASE
Leicestershire’s Hassan Azad wins June award after stellar month with the bat.
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Leicestershire opening batsman Hassan Azad has admitted the start to his professional career has “still not sunk in” after winning the PCA Player of the Month for June.
The 25-year-old received 50% of the supporters vote, beating off competition from Somerset’s Lewis Gregory (18%), Marnus Labuschagne (18%) of Glamorgan and Warwickshire captain Jeetan Patel (14%).
The former Loughborough student only signed his first professional contract ahead of the 2019 season and has started his career with a flourish of at the top of the Leicestershire order.
The shortlist was selected via the PCA Most Valuable Player Rankings for the month of June and thanks to his County Championship form, Azad was top of the pile. Thankfully for the Karachi-born run-maker, fans who voted through the PCA and Sky Sports online platforms agreed, something, which he sees as the cherry on top of his June cake.
“I am absolutely ecstatic. I was very pleased even to be nominated,” said Azad.
“I am absolutely loving it, playing professional cricket has been a dream for as long as I can remember. To be living it is unreal and it still has not sunk in this is what my life is now. Going to the ground every day, training and playing in games, I am really grateful.”
In June, Azad became the first Leicestershire player since 2013 to score two centuries in the same match, some feat considering it was just his seventh Championship outing for the Foxes.
His performance against Gloucestershire saw him win the MVP of the match with 39.86 points and contributed to his 389 runs in the month at an average of 97.25, which made him statistically the standout performer. With 105.9 MVP points in the Championship table, he sits in the top 40 players in the country; something he didn’t think was possible 12-months ago.
“It seemed quite far away this time last year but I am really grateful things have come together for me, I am over the moon and I can’t believe how well this year has gone so far and long may it continue.
“When you play games close together, cricket is a game when you start to get a few runs, things do start to go your way and I was really pleased I capitalized on that to help the team to get a few decent results. We would have liked to win a few more games but it’s nice to contribute to the team.
“It was really nice to score two hundreds in the same game. You can only take it one ball at a time and it was a good pitch.
“We did well to get a good score in the first innings and then in the second innings it was petering out into a draw but it was still nice to spend some time at the crease and take advantage of the situation. Sometimes as an opening batsman you do get a good nut early so it is nice to get that milestone.”
"Playing professional cricket has been a dream for as long as I can remember. To be living it is unreal and it still has not sunk in this is what my life is now."
Leicestershire are amongst a cluster of teams in Division Two aiming for a promotion spot and if they are to challenge, Azad will be a key man at the Fischer County Ground.
“It would be ideal for us to get one of those promotion spots to get into Division One next year but that’s quite far away for us at the minute so we are taking it one game at a time.
“We want to put in a complete performance with bat and ball we have done well in one discipline or the other so it would be nice to put a complete performance together to get us over the line to get towards a promotion spot.”
To view the Overall MVP Rankings click here.