New Delhi, Jan 26 (IANS) England captain Ben Stokes has been named as the winner of the ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Year 2022 award, two days after being named as captain of ICC Men’s Test team of the Year for 2022.
He also becomes the third England cricketer to win the award after Alastair Cook (2011) and Joe Root (2021), beating competition from compatriot Jonny Bairstow, Australia’s left-handed opener Usman Khawaja, and South Africa fast-bowler Kagiso Rabada, all of whom managed to find a place in the ICC Test eleven for 2022.
Stokes, along with head coach Brendon McCullum, has changed the fortunes of English Test cricket in 2022. Struggling for results and at the rock-bottom of the World Test Championship standings, Stokes took over an English side that was struggling for confidence. Before he was appointed as captain, England had been beaten in each of their four most recently completed series and had won just one of their previous 17 Tests.
His inspirational leadership has now built up a confident and attacking unit, who won nine out of 10 Test matches under his tenure in 2022. Under Stokes, England completed series victories over New Zealand and South Africa at home, beating India in the one-off postponed Test at Birmingham to level the series at 2-2, and hammering Pakistan 3-0 away from home in a historic tour in December.
Stokes has repeatedly stated about taking the fear of failure away from the players and that has reflected in the ultra-aggressive brand of cricket that England play under him. He has also led the charge by example, having a good year with both bat and ball.
He had scored 870 runs, including two centuries and four half-centuries and also scalped 26 wickets at an average of 31.19. His assertive batting style saw him net 26 sixes across the year and just short of 100 fours.
In the historic 3-0 series victory in Pakistan happening before Christmas, Stokes’s side averaged 5.50 runs per over, and the attacking batting was matched by the captain’s assertive decision-making.
An inspired declaration by Stokes in a high-scoring affair in Rawalpindi gave England the time to win the match as the sun was setting, in what will go down as one of England’s greatest away wins. Stokes will be seen in Test action when England tour New Zealand for two Tests in Mount Maunganui and Wellington in February 2023.