Pakistan cricket team skipper Babar Azam won the International Cricket Council Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year Award for his “match-winning knocks and spell-binding stroke-play,” the global cricket body announced on their website.
Babar was up against Bangladesh's all-rounder, Shakib Al Hasan, South Africa’s Janneman Malan and Ireland’s Paul Stirling in the run-up to the award.
The post said that the right-handed batter made an important contribution in the two series that Pakistan played 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. 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 where the visitors posted 320 batting first,” the ICC said.
It further called Babar “the lone warrior” in the series against England when they were swept by the hosts 3-0. Moreover, the global cricket authority called Babar’s knock in the third ODI at Birmingham his “best performance”, where he scored his highest-ever ODI score, 158.
In his acceptance speech, Babar thanked his fans, the Pakistan Cricket Board staff, ICC, and the team for supporting him all time. “It was not possible without them. I feel proud to have such a good team.”
He also termed his performance against England in the third ODI of the series his “career-best innings” because the Lahore-born batter was struggling with his form at that time and needed some confidence.
Babar further hailed the team’s performance in South Africa where they outclassed the “quality bowling” and won the series.
“My aim is to score runs in every country and at the home of the opponents,” he said, “It was my goal and that series [against South Africa] was quite helpful for us. The momentum we gained after that win, gave our team and me as a player and captain a lot of confidence.”
Last week, the ICC announced Babar as the captain of the ICC's team of the year. The team also features Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Reacting to the development, cricket fans and PCB started sending congratulatory messages to Babar.
The PCB posted Babar's picture with the congratulatory message.
One of the users posted his picture with former Australian player Mathew Hayden and wicketkeeper batter Mohammad Rizwan.
Some shared older pictures of Babar and talked about his journey.
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