Pak pacer Shaheen Afridi becomes the youngest player to receive ICC men's Cricketer of the Year awardtext_fields
Dubai: Pakistan left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi on Monday was named as the ICC men's Cricketer of the Year for 2021. At 21 years, Afridi is the youngest cricketer ever to get the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy and is the first Pakistani player to receive the honour as well. It is also the fourth individual trophy bagged by Pakistan in this edition of the ICC awards.
The tall Pakistani quick was on fire throughout 2021, knocking some of the best batters over across all three formats of the game. Afridi had a year to remember in Tests and T20Is, reaching his peak during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup in UAE where he impressed one and all with his sheer speed and skills. He has been bestowed the honour for taking 78 wickets across formats in 36 internationals at an average of 22.20 in 2021.
Apart from Shah Afridi, Pakistan captain Babar Azam was named ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year while England Test captain Joe Root took home the top honours in the red-ball category, beating competition from, among others, Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
The 27-year-old Babar scored 405 runs in six games at an average of 67.50 in 2021. He 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.
He was the lone warrior for Pakistan when they were 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.
The magnitude of Root's sublime form in Test cricket in the year 2021 can be summed up by one simple stat -- he has become only the third player in history to aggregate over 1700 runs in Test cricket in a calendar year. Only Mohammad Yousuf and Sir Vivian Richards stand ahead of him.
Be it Asia or conditions back at home and against a range of bowling, the England skipper ruled everywhere with some sublime innings.
In women's cricket, 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 sweep off Pakistan.
She was unstoppable on the tour of India thereafter, racking up big runs in the Proteas' 4-1 series win. With 288 runs, including a hundred and two fifties, she ended the series as the highest run-scorer and was awarded the Player of the Series.
She carried her form over to the series against West Indies as well and was once again the top run-getter in the series.
Meanwhile, 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 hosts South Africa and India.
On top of the T20 World Cup final, Erasmus oversaw 20 international fixtures across the three formats in 2021.