Pakistan pacer Afridi named ICC player of the year
January 24 2022 10:38 PM
Pakistan paceman Shaheen Afridi  (Illustration by Reynold/ Gulf Times)
Pakistan paceman Shaheen Afridi (Illustration by Reynold/ Gulf Times)

Agencies / London

Pakistan paceman Shaheen Afridi was named Player of the Year by the International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday, with England captain Joe Root selected as the outstanding Test cricketer in 2021.
Afrid’s captain, Babar Azam, was adjudged the ICC men’s ODI cricketer of the year.
Afridi’s 78 wickets in 36 internationals across different formats secured him the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy, with best bowling figures of 6-51 in a Test match against the West Indies.
He claimed 47 wickets in only nine Tests at an impressive average of 17.06 and took seven wickets in six matches during Pakistan’s run to the semi-final of the Twenty20 World Cup.
“I feel truly honoured and privileged to become the first Pakistan cricketer to win the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year,” Afridi said yesterday. “I had always dreamt of doing something unique and special for Pakistan. In this background, I am elated and thank Almighty for blessing me with this respect.
“In 2021 our team performed really well and we won some very good matches,” the 21-year-old added. “I had many good performances including five-fors in Tests but the most memorable one for me would be the one we won against India (he took three wickets against them at the T20 World Cup),” he added.
“It was a historical match and matches with India draw a big audience.”
Root picked up the award for men’s Test Player of the Year after scoring 1,708 runs in 15 matches in 2021.
His tally is the third-highest total on record in a calendar year, with only former Pakistan player Mohamed Yousuf and West Indies great Sir Viv Richards ahead of him.
Root registered two double centuries and a further four hundreds, including three in successive Tests against India during England’s home series.
“I am incredibly proud to receive this award,” said the 31-year-old, only the second Englishman to win the accolade after Alastair Cook in 2011.
“I am very humbled to be in the same breath as a number of wonderful players around the world and it means a huge amount.”
The knock that stood out for Root was his 128 that helped England begin their India tour with a win in Chennai in February.
He batted for 377 deliveries to craft 218 as England’s imposing first-innings total helped set the tone for a 227-run win.
“The Chennai hundred sticks out, to get it in my hundredth game will live long in may memory,” Root said. “Incredibly proud to have received this award. Humbled to be in the same breath as a number of players around the world. It means a huge amount to get this award.”
Despite Root’s personal achievements, England had a poor year in Test cricket, winning just four out of their 15 matches.
They lost the Ashes in Australia – where Root failed to score a century – and also lost series against India and New Zealand.
Babar’s 158 in the third ODI against England at Edgbaston during the summer was instrumental in him winning the ODI Player of the Year award.
With the series already lost, Pakistan were left to fight for World Cup Super League points, and Babar built on a solid foundation to bring up his career-best score. The knock, however, ended up in a losing cause due to a century stand between James Vince and Lewis Gregory.
Overall, Babar featured in just six ODIs in 2021, finishing with 405 runs at an average of 67.50.
“The best innings of the year if you ask me of the year, it’s this one. It’s the best innings of my career,” Babar said of his knock.
“I was struggling a bit, I needed a knock like that and it gave me a lot of confidence.”
India’s Smriti Mandhana won the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year.

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