Babar Azam among nominees for ICC Player of the Year

Azam scored 2598 runs in 44 matches during 2022

By Web Desk
December 30, 2022
Babar Azam was in great form during 2022 — AFP

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam is among ICC Player of the Year nominees, alongside England’s Ben Stokes, Zimbabwe’s Sikandar Raza and New Zealand’s Tim Southee.

Azam scored 2598 runs in 44 matches during a prolific year with the bat for the Men in Green.

“2022 was yet another year of Babar Azam making and breaking records. Babar was the only player to breach the 2000-run mark in the calendar year across formats, with his 2598 runs coming at an average of 54.12, which included eight hundreds and 17 fifties,” the ICC said in a press release.

“The 2021 ICC Men's ODI Player of the Year continued to rule in the 50-over format, scoring 679 runs in nine matches. It is a testament to his consistency that he registered scores of 50 or more in eight of those innings. He continues to hold on to his top spot in the MRF Tyres ICC Men's ODI Player Rankings and is once again in the running to win the ICC Men's ODI Player of the Year 2022.

“Babar also enjoyed a tremendous year in Test cricket, despite the team results not going his way. He accumulated 1184 runs in just nine matches and did the bulk of the heavy lifting for Pakistan in the longer format.

“It was also a memorable year for Babar as captain in the white-ball formats – Pakistan won all three ODI series they played, losing just one match out of nine. In the T20I format, he led Pakistan to their first T20 World Cup Final since 2009.”

The ICC also lauded Azam’s memorable 196-run knock at a time when his side were staring at defeat against Australia in the second Test in Karachi.

Pakistan were cleaned up for 148 in the first innings, giving Australia a massive 408-run lead. The visitors batted again and set them a target of 506 with close to six sessions remaining.

“Pakistan got off to the worst possible start, losing two wickets with just 21 runs on board and with five sessions remaining. In walked Babar Azam and thus began a gritty 10-hour marathon that almost took Pakistan from an inevitable defeat to almost pulling off an impossible win,” the ICC stated.

“His 425-ball 196 not only fetched him his first Test century in two years but also his highest Test score. He stitched crucial partnerships, first with Abdullah Shafique (228-run stand) and then Mohammad Rizwan (115 runs).

“The equation was down to 196 runs in 36 overs but the wicket of Babar four runs short of a well-deserved double ton followed by two quick scalps shut down all hopes of victory.

“Babar Azam walked off to a standing ovation, having registered the highest score by a Test captain in the fourth innings of a Test.”