Shaheen Afridi, Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan and Fatima Sana bag major annual awards announced by the governing International Cricket Council.

Shaheen Afridi (R), who picked up 78 wickets in 36 internationals last year, won the coveted Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year.
Shaheen Afridi (R), who picked up 78 wickets in 36 internationals last year, won the coveted Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year. (Reuters Archive)

Pakistan fast bowler Shaheen Afridi has been named men's Cricketer of the Year, combining with teammates Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan to help his country dominate the annual awards announced by the governing International Cricket Council (ICC).

England captain Joe Root won the Test Player of the Year honours to prevent a sweep of the men's awards by Pakistan.

Pakistan captain Babar was adjudged One-Day Cricketer of the Year while his deputy Rizwan grabbed the T20 award.

Rizwan amassed a remarkable 1,326 runs in 29 matches at an average of 73.66.

A fourth Pakistan cricketer, Fatima Sana, won the Emerging Women's Cricketer of the year award.

Known for his sizzling yorkers and an ability to swing the ball, Afridi claimed 78 wickets in 36 internationals in 2021 and was at his best at the Twenty20 World Cup even though Pakistan went out in the semi-finals.

"I got five-fours in tests but my most memorable performance was during our victory against India in the World Cup," the 21-year-old left-armer said.

Hundred against India 

Root was rewarded for his sublime form in 2021 when he become only the third player –– after Mohammad Yousuf of Pakistan and West Indies great Viv Richards –– to score over 1700 runs in test cricket in a calendar year.

"If there was one hundred that really sticks out it would probably be in Chennai against India," Root said referring to his stellar 218 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

"With it being my 100th game it is something that will live long in the memory."

In the women's category, India opener Smriti Mandhana won the Cricketer of the Year award.

South Africa's Lizelle Lee took the one-day honours, while England's Tammy Beaumont bagged the T20 award.

South African Marais Erasmus was Umpire of the Year.

‘Year to remember’ for Azam

Babar Azam had "a year to remember" as he made "vital contributions" in the two series that Pakistan played in 2021, the ICC said.

The Pakistani captain’s 465 runs in six ODIs included match-winning knocks against daunting opponents South Africa and England.

His best performance came in the final of a three-match series against England when he scored almost half of Pakistan's 331 runs in the first innings, the statement said.

Azam is also among six Pakistani players featured in the ICC men's ODI, T20I and Test teams for 2021, along with Afridi, Rizwan, bowler Hasan Ali and batters Fawad Alam and Fakhar Zaman.

Source: Reuters