Babar Azam, Joe Root ICC cricketers of the year

Pakistan captain Babar Azam was on Monday named the ICC ODI cricketer of the year while England Test captain Joe Root took home the top honours in the red-ball category.

Babar Azam was prolific with the bat for Pakistan in 2021.   -  AP

Pakistan captain Babar Azam was on Monday named the ICC ODI cricketer of the year while England Test captain Joe Root took home the top honours in the red-ball category.

In 2021, Babar scored 405 runs in six matches at an average of 67.50.

Babar was the second-highest run-scorer with 228 runs and was the player of the match in both of Pakistan's wins in the 2-1 series victory against South Africa.

The architect of Pakistan's chase of 274 in the first ODI, Babar made a century and laid the foundation with an 82-ball 94 in the final ODI. He was the lone warrior for Pakistan when it was swept by England 3-0. He accumulated 177 runs in three games but found no support as none of the other batters managed to score more than 100 in the series.

Babar's best performance this year came in a losing cause - in the final ODI against England.

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Walking in to bat early in the innings, Babar stitched a 92-run stand with Imam-ul-Haq to bail Pakistan out of trouble. He was cautious in his approach initially, bringing up his half-century in 72 balls. He made up for it by bringing up the next fifty runs in just 32 balls – it was his second ODI century of the year.

Root is Test cricketer of the year

Root's excellence in Test cricket this year can be summed up by one simple stat - he has become only the third player in history to aggregate over 1,700 runs in Test cricket in a calendar year. Only Mohammad Yousuf and Sir Vivian Richards stand ahead of him.

Be it Asia or the U.K., the England was among the runs.

His knocks in Galle against Sri Lanka, and against India in both Chennai and Lord's are some of the finest witnessed in the modern era, and will be spoken of highly for a long, long time.

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Root shone through with the ball as well, chipping in with a handy 14 wickets, including a five-for in Ahmedabad.

His 218 in the first Test of the four-match series against India in Chennai was a masterclass in batting. He swatted away a quality bowling attack with ease. This was also a sign of things to come for the remainder of the year, as the 31-year-old played knock after knock of the highest calibre, irrespective of the opposition.

Ashwin was nominated in the same category along with Kyle Jamieson, and Dimuth Karunaratne. 

Lizelle Lee is women’s ODI cricketer of the year

South Africa opener Lizelle Lee was named the ODI cricketer of the year for her scintillating performance which saw her finish as the highest run-scorer in 2021 in the format. The hard-hitting batter had two scores of 40 plus and played a vital role in South Africa's cleansweep of Pakistan.

She was unstoppable on the tour of India, racking up big runs in the Proteas' 4-1 series win. With 288 runs, including a centuries and two fifties, she ended the series as the highest run-scorer and was the player of the series.

She carried her form over to the West Indies as well and was once again the top run-getter in the series there.

Marais Erasmus Umpire of the Year

South Africa umpire Marais Erasmus was named the umpire of the year for the third time after receiving the honour in 2016 and 2017. The 57-year-old officiated in the just concluded series between host South Africa and India.

Besides the T20 World Cup final, Erasmus oversaw 20 international fixtures across the three formats in 2021.

Shaheen Afridi men's cricketer of the Year

Shaheen Afridi became the first Pakistan player to win the ICC Men's Cricketer of the Year award.

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