Pakistani cricket star Babar Azam named player of the year

He was the only batter in international cricket who managed to cross more than 2,500 runs in all formats last year.

Pakistan's Captain Babar Azam attends a news conference in Melbourne [File: Surjeet Yadav/AFP]

Islamabad, Pakistan – National cricket team captain Babar Azam became the second Pakistani player to win the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Sir Garfield Sobers award for cricketer of the year.

Azam also bagged the men’s one day international (ODI) player of the year for second year running for his outstanding performance in the format.

He was the only batter in international cricket who managed to cross more than 2,500 runs in all formats last year, while also leading the team to the finals of World T20 in Australia and Asia Cup.

The Pakistani captain scored his runs at an average of 54, with eight centuries across formats.

In a video message, Azam expressed his joy at joining the ranks of some of the “iconic and respected names” of the game.

“I continue to look up to these players as well as champions of the past for inspiration, motivation, and improvement. As cricket is a team sport, this recognition and achievement would not have been possible without the overwhelming support of my family, team, fans, and the institution, to all of whom I am greatly indebted and thankful,” he said.

Remarkable numbers

Azam, who won the ODI player of the year award in 2021 as well, remains the world’s top ODI batter and managed to score more than 600 runs in just nine matches in 2022.

His test numbers were remarkable as well, as he scored more than 1,000 runs in the format. However, his team faltered; Pakistan failed to win a single test match last year despite playing eight – all on home soil.

England’s Ben Stokes won the best test player of the award while India’s Suryakumar Yadav captured the T20 player of the year award.

Stokes, also the captain of the English test team, which is credited with bringing a blazing, aggressive style of cricket in the longest format, had a stellar year.

He scored more than 800 runs and picked up 26 wickets, all while captaining his team to nine wins out of 10 matches this year, including a clean sweep in Pakistan.

Thanking the ICC, the jury and the fans for the award, Stokes said it was down to his teammates and management.

“We are enjoying our cricket and love having fun wherever we play. The way in which we approach Test cricket is to excite the fans and making it a spectacle for everyone to get behind and enjoy regardless of the result for England,” he said in a video message.

India’s Yadav had a remarkable year where he scored more than 1,100 runs in the shortest and the most frantic format, at an unbelievable strike rate of more than 187.

He scored two centuries and nine half-centuries in 2022 in the format, along with 68 sixes, the most by any individual in a year.

Source: Al Jazeera