KARACHI: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam has once again been named the ICC’s ODI Player of the Year after he won the International Cricket Council’s award for the year 2022 with his spectacular performance in the calendar year 2021.
The batting maestro achieved the feat a day after being named the captain of the ICC ODI Team of the Year for 2022.
“There were match-winning knocks, spell-binding stroke-play and memorable moments from a personal perspective and his team in 2022 as Pakistan skipper Babar Azam claimed ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year Award for a second consecutive year,” a statement released by the international cricket governing body said.
The ICC reminisced some of Babar’s memorable performances and outstanding achievements in the year.
A year to remember
What Babar produced during 2022 was even better than 2021, a year for him to remember in ODI cricket, as the “ultra-consistent right-hander maintained his lead” as the No 1 ranked batter on the ICC Men’s ODI Player Rankings.
It’s a title that Babar has held firmly onto since July 2021 and on current form, has no intention of letting go easily.
It might be surprising to note that the prolific batter only played nine ODI matches in 2022, but made them count by smashing three centuries, another five half-centuries, and only really failed with the bat on one occasion.
“It wasn’t just from an individual level that Babar thrived, with the Pakistan captain also leading his team with aplomb and to just one loss throughout the year.”
The 28-year-old put up back-to-back incredible ODI performances in 2022, but none was more memorable or as good as the outstanding 114 against Australia in Lahore in March.
It was a must-win encounter for Pakistan after they fell to a loss in the series opener against an always-difficult Australian side and Babar delivered when his country needed him most as the Asian side chased down a massive total of 349 for the loss of just four wickets and with six deliveries to spare.
Openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq laid the foundation with a 118-run stand to get the run chase going before Babar put on a masterclass in chasing a total.
Walking out to bat when his team needed 231 from 187 balls, Babar almost took his side home with an exceptional display of shot-making.
He brought up his hundred from just 73 balls – his fastest ever in ODI cricket – and stuck around until the 45th over with the victory target in sight.
The rest of the batters finished the job as Pakistan recorded their highest-ever successful chase in ODIs and it was no surprise that their inspirational skipper was deservedly named Player of the Match.