ISLAMABAD: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday honored Pakistan’s all-format captain Babar Azam by naming him the captain of its Men’s ODI Team of the Year, just a day after selecting him as the skipper for its T20I team.
The ICC announce these teams to honor top world players who show consistently impressive performances during the course of a year. Its latest nominations relate to One Day Internationals (ODIs), the 50-over format of the game.
Azam was yet again named the captain of the team, which features the likes of Janneman Malan, Rassie Van Der Dussen, Shakib al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Ireland’s Paul Stirling.
“Despite having played only 6 matches in 2021, Babar still managed to score 405 runs at an average of 67.50 with two centuries,” read a post on the ICC website, explaining the reason why Babar Azam was included in the list.
“The talismanic Pakistan skipper made vital contributions in tough away tours of South Africa and England, ending up with Player of the Match awards in both their victories in the former,” it added.
Joining Babar Azam in the ODI Team of the Year is his fellow compatriot Fakhar Zaman. The left-handed batter scored an impressive 365 runs at an average of 60.88 with two centuries this year.
“One of the centuries came against South Africa, in a knock which will be remembered for ages,” the ICC added. “He scored 193, almost taking Pakistan home in their chase of 342 in Johannesburg.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan added another feather to its cap when all-rounder Fatima Sana featured in ICC Women’s ODI Team of the Year. Sana has had a phenomenal past year, taking 20 wickets in 13 matches to be the joint highest wicket-taker in women’s ODIs.
“Even though her economy of 5.61 was a bit on the higher side, Sana picked up her wickets at an excellent strike rate of 26.6,” said the ICC. “She did well as a lower-order batter too, amassing a total of 132 runs at an average of 14.66.”
The ICC also announced its Test Team of the Year.
While Babar Azam was not selected in the team, his compatriots Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi and batter Fawad Alam did make the cut.
The ICC named New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson the captain of the team which features the likes of Rishabh Pant, Ashwin, Kyle Jamieson, Joe Root, Rohit Sharma and Marnus Labuschagne.
Hasan Ali has been included in the list for his 41 wickets from nine matches in 2021. “He also picked up one five-wicket haul and registered best bowling figures in a match of 10/114,” said the ICC.
Shaheen Afridi fared brilliantly in all three formats of the game over the last year. The left-arm pacer picked up 47 wickets from nine matches at an average of 17.06, including three five-wicket hauls.
“Still only 21, Shaheen will likely lead the Pakistan pace bowling unit for years to come and with already rapid improvements in his bowling, he will undoubtedly prove to be a fearsome prospect,” wrote the ICC.
The ICC described Fawad Alam as “the cornerstone of the Pakistan batting line-up” in Test matches after several years of toiling in Pakistan’s domestic circuit.
“He was at his sturdy best in 2021, scoring 571 runs in 9 matches at an average of 57.10 with three centuries. His tons came in tough situations against South Africa, Zimbabwe and West Indies,” it said.