Babar Azam named ICC Men's ODI Cricketer of 2021

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam has been named as ICC Men's ODI Cricketer of 2021.
Babar Azam named ICC Men's ODI Cricketer of 2021
Pakistan Cricketer Babar Azam (Image Credit: ANI)

Dubai

Babar Azam might have played only six ODis in 2021, but he made vital contributions in the two series that Pakistan played this year. 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. 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 none of the other batters managed to score more than 100 in the series.
Azam's best performance this year came in a losing cause in the final ODI against England. With the series already lost, Pakistan were playing for pride as well as crucial ICC Cricket World Cup Super League points in the third ODI at Birmingham. Put in to bat first, Pakistan posted 331, with Babar scoring close to half of the team's runs. Walking in to bat early in the innings, Babar strung a 92-run stand with Imam-ul-Haq to bail Pakistan out of trouble. 
He was cautious in his approach initially, bringing up his half-century in 72 balls. He made up for it by bringing up the next fifty runs in just 32 balls - it was his second ODI century of the year. With the milestone out of the way, he exploded in the death overs and almost batted through the innings, getting out in the last over for 158, his highest-ever ODI score. 
Unfortunately for Pakistan, James Vince and Lewis Gregory stole the show with a stunning 129-run stand for the sixth wicket as England chased the total down with two overs to spare.
Root wins Test Cricketer of the Year
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.
His knocks in Galle against Sri Lanka, and against India in both Chennai and Lord's are some of the finest witnessed in the modern era, and will be spoken of highly for a long, long time.
He hasn't been shabby with the ball as well, chipping in with a handy 14 wickets, including a five-for in Ahmedabad.
Root's 218 in the first Test of the four-match series against India in Chennai was a masterclass in batting. He swatted away a quality bowling attack, both pace and spin, with utter ease. This was also a sign of things to come for the remainder of the year, as the 31-year-old played knock after knock of the highest calibre, irrespective of the opposition.
Ashwin was nominated in the same category along with Kyle Jamieson, and Dimuth Karunaratne.
Lizelle Lee takes home women's ODI Cricketer of the Year
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.
Marais Erasmus Umpire of the Year
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.

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