International Cricket Council (ICC) has released the list of ICC awards 2021 winners to recognise the outstanding performances throughout the year. Several men and women in cricket gave memorable moments for their respective countries. Pakistani players also made their mark among the best of the entire world. They bagged 4 of the 13 most prestigious awards in cricket history.
Pakistani Players Win ICC Awards 2021 in 4 Categories
It has been a joyous day for Pakistani cricket fans as the green shirts stole the show in ICC awards 2021. Since the annual cricket awards began in 2004, only Australian and Indian players have dominated the competition. However, it has been revitalising for Pakistan to witness its cricketers as top performers of the year. Here are the 4 Pakistani cricketers that won big at the awards ceremony.
Mohammad Rizwan – ICC Men’s T20I Cricketer of the Year
Pakistan’s wicketkeeper batter Mohammad Rizwan has been the most prolific scorer since 2015. This year, he ruled the T20I format, making him the star of ICC awards 2021. Rizwan amassed 1326 runs in 29 matches and 24 dismissals (outs). His average was impressive 73.66 while maintaining a strike rate of 134.89.
Apart from being a game-changer in batting, his prowess behind the stumps was also prominent. He also played a crucial role in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 semi-final when Pakistan lost to Australia, but Rizwan was the 3rd highest scorer after Babar Azam and David Warner.
Earlier in 2021, Rizwan scored his career’s first T20I century against South Africa in Lahore and made 87 runs against West Indies in Karachi. His most memorable performance of 2021 was seen in the World Cup match against India. The award winner opened the innings with captain Babar Azam, smashed 79 runs on 55 balls, and remained not out till the end.
Fatima Sana – ICC Emerging Women’s Cricketer of the Year
The amazing 20-year-old all-rounder of Pakistan’s women’s cricket team Fatima Sana has impressed the entire world with her performance in 2021. She won the Emerging Women’s Cricketer of the Year in ICC awards 2021. Her efforts made her an integral part of the women’s team in ODI and T20I formats. She shined because of her wicket-taking skills and scored crucial runs for the team.
There are 24 wickets to her name in 2021 at an average of 23.95 and 165 runs at 16.50 average in 16 matches. Fatima has proved her mettle in West Indies, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. 18 of her 24 wickets came in 11 matches against West Indies.
She usually comes on the field as a lower order batter, i.e., at number 8. Yet, she has an impressive track record of scoring 22 to 28 runs without dismissals against such strong teams. Her 5-wicket haul against West Indies in July 2021 and her memorable batting during death overs were her finest moments this year.
Babar Azam – ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year
The skipper has left the world spellbound with his consistency and match-winning batting. Perhaps many have already expected it, but Babar Azam is indeed named Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year in ICC awards 2021. It is arguably the biggest reward on the list and commonly given to the one-of-a-kind players. This year, Pakistan’s captain made vital contributions to the team’s success.
Even though he played only 6 ODIs in 2021, he managed to amass 405 runs at an average of 67.50. There were also 2 centuries in this score. He was the architect of Pakistan’s win in the South Africa series in Feb 2021, scoring 228 runs in total. Babar also held his own when Pakistan was devoured 3-0 by England in July 2021 ODI series. He was the only Pakistan player to score more than 100 runs in that series.
Shaheen Shah Afridi – Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year
Pakistan’s pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi won Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy at ICC awards 2021. It is named after former West Indies captain Sir Garfield Sobers and is considered the most prestigious annual ICC title. It was first awarded to Rahul Dravid of India in 2004, and since 2019, it has been held by England’s Ben Stokes. The 21-year-old became the first Pakistani and the youngest cricketer ever to win this trophy.
Afridi was on fire throughout the year, bowling some of the greatest batters of this era across all game formats. The left-arm fast bowler claimed 78 wickets in 36 matches with an average of 22.20. This year, his most dangerous spell was seen during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. As Pakistan fought its way to the semi-final, Afridi already had 7 wickets to his name in only 6 matches.
The cricket lovers would remember his explosive performance against India in October. He took the 3 most critical wickets for India (KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli) and minimised their chances of winning. Even Indian captain Kohli, who won six titles in ICC awards 2018, was impressed by Afridi’s magical bowling. The Pakistani pacer put their batters under pressure with his speed, intensity, and innovative bowling.