As International Cricket Council (ICC) announced Team of the year for various cricket formats on Thursday, it is evident that no Indian cricketer has made the cut for ICC Men’s Team of the Year for 2021 in ODI and T20 cricket formats.
However, it is interesting to note that Pakistan captain Babar Azam was made captain for both the cricket formats where India has no representation.
It is also the first time since the inception of the Men’s ODI Team of the Year honour in 2004 that there are no Indian cricketers in the eleven. It could also be put down to the fact that India played just six ODIs in 2021, three each against England and Sri Lanka.
Moreover, the team also doesn’t have any cricketers from 2019’Men’s Cricket World Cup champions England, five-time champions Australia, two-time winners West Indies or two-time runners-up New Zealand.
Coming to the eleven, Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman finds a place alongside Azam while Bangladesh has representation through wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim, all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman. Sri Lanka have two members in leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga and pace all-rounder Dushmantha Chameera.
South Africa opener Janneman Malan and middle-order batter Rassie van der Dussen find themselves in the eleven so as Ireland opener Paul Stirling and off-spin all-rounder Simi Singh. Van der Dussen, who made an unbeaten 129 against India in the first ODI at Paarl, scored 342 runs in eight games in 2021 at an average of 57. He also had a ton to his name which came against Pakistan in Centurion.
Stirling was the highest run-scorer in ODIs in 2021. His runs came in only 14 matches at an average of 79.66 with three centuries and two half-centuries though Ireland struggled to win matches in the calender year. Malan scored 509 runs in eight matches at an average of 84.83 with two centuries and two half-centuries and has been nominated for ODI player of the year as well.
Azam, despite playing only six matches in 2021, scored 405 runs at an average of 67.50 with two centuries while Zaman aggregated 365 runs at an average of 60.83 with two centuries, one of which was 193 against South Africa, which almost took Pakistan home in their chase of 342 in Johannesburg.
Al Hasan amassed 277 runs at an average of 39.57 with two half-centuries and also scalped up 17 wickets at an average of 17.52. Against West Indies at home, Al Hasan was adjudged the Player of the Series for his efforts with both bat and ball. Rahim aggregated 407 runs at an average of 58.14 with one century in nine matches while Rahman scalped 18 wickets in 10 matches at an average of 21.55 and economy rate of 5.03.
Hasaranga established himself as an all-rounder, scoring 356 runs at an average of 27.38 with three half-centuries in 14 matches and took 12 wickets at a miserly economy of 4.56. His team-mate, Chameera, scalped 20 wickets at an average of 29.30 with one five-wicket haul. Simi Singh picked up 19 wickets at 20.15 in 2021 in 13 matches, which included one five-for. He also contributed 280 runs at 46.66, which included one century and one half-century.
ICC’s Men’s ODI Team of the Year: Paul Stirling, Janneman Malan, Babar Azam (captain), Fakhar Zaman, Rassie van der Dussen, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wicket-keeper), Wanindu Hasaranga, Mustafizur Rahman, Simi Singh and Dushmantha Chameera.
(With IANS inputs)