Pakistan’s all-format captain Babar Azam has been named as the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) ODI Player of the Year for his brilliant batting performances and leadership skills in 2021.
In a press release on Monday, the ICC said that Babar’s leadership skills were on display when he led Pakistan to a historic 2-1 ODI series win over South Africa.
Overall, the 27-year-old scored 405 runs at an exceptional average of 67.50 in 2021. His performances included two centuries and one half-century in the calendar year.
In his acceptance speech, which was recorded virtually, the Pakistan skipper thanked the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), his teammates and his fans and for their relentless support.
Babar also thanked the ICC for giving him the prestigious award. He also thanked his parents who prayed a lot for his success and said that he owes this award to them.
The skipper declared his 158-run innings during the third ODI against England last year as his best ODI knock of 2021. The innings included 14 fours and 4 sixes and helped Pakistan post a huge total on the board. However, Pakistan lost the match by 3 wickets.
Babar is the third Pakistani cricketer to receive ICC’s player of the year award for 2021. Earlier, Pakistan’s premier wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan was announced as the T20I Cricketer of the Year for his significant performances in the format in 2021, and young woman cricketer Fatima Sana was announced as the Emerging Women’s Cricketer of the Year.