New Delhi, Jan 26 (IANS) After being named the ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year 2022, Pakistan captain Babar Azam has now bagged the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year 2022. He is now the second Pakistan cricketer to have won the coveted honour after left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi did so in 2021.
Azam was the only player to breach the 2000-run mark during the calendar year across all formats, and he did it in style as he broke past that milestone in style while amassing a whopping 2598 runs at an imposing average of 54.12.
His haul of eight hundreds and 17 fifties during the calendar year across all formats is his best of his playing career till date. Azam played only nine ODI matches in 2022, but the 28-year-old made them count as he smashed three centuries, a further five half-centuries and only really failed with the bat on one occasion.
He has been at the top of the men’s ODI player rankings since July 2021, scored 679 runs at a stunning average of 84.87 in the nine matches he played in 2022, registering eight scores of more than fifty, three of which he converted into hundreds.
As a captain, Azam had a memorable year as captain of the Pakistan ODI team, winning three out of three series. Pakistan were unstoppable in the ODI format, losing just one match (against Australia) out of nine.
His best effort in ODIs this year was 114 against Australia in Lahore. Set a daunting target of 349 by Australia, Azam 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.
Azam brought up his hundred off just 73 balls, his fastest ever in ODI cricket and stuck around till the 44th over. The rest of the batters finished the job as they recorded their highest-ever successful chase in ODIs, with Azam deservedly named Player of the Match.
He also enjoyed a tremendous year in Test cricket, despite team results not always going his way. Azam accumulated 1184 runs from just nine matches and did the bulk of the heavy lifting for Pakistan in the longest format of the game.
In the T20Is, he led Pakistan to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup final – their first since 2009 – as they finished runners-up behind eventual champions England in Australia. Under his leadership, Pakistan also finished runners-up in the Asia Cup in the UAE, behind eventual winners Sri Lanka.