Babar Azam named ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year (2021)
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has named Pakistan ace Babar Azam the ODI Cricketer of the Year (2021). The Pakistani skipper scaled new heights with the bat in 2021. He worked in tandem with Mohammad Rizwan, who has been named the ICC Men's T20I Cricketer of the Year. Babar also led Pakistan to the semi-finals of the 2021 T20 World Cup.
Babar finished as the highest ODI run-scorer for Pakistan in 2021. He racked up 405 runs from six matches at an incredible average of 67.50. He has the best strike rate among the top 10 run-scorers of 2021 (108.00). Babar slammed two centuries and one fifty in the format last year. Fakhar Zaman (365) follows Babar on the tally among Pakistani batters.
In April 2021, Babar led Pakistan to a 2-1 ODI series win in South Africa. His 103-run knock helped Pakistan chase 274 in the first ODI at the SuperSport Park, Centurion. While South Africa won the second ODI, Babar-led Pakistan sealed the final ODI by 28 runs (Babar smashed 94 runs). Babar was the Player of the Match in the first and third ODI.
In July, England routed Pakistan 3-0 in the three-match ODI series. Despite Pakistan's loss, Babar finished as the leading run-scorer of the series. He slammed 177 runs at a phenomenal average of 59.00. Notably, no other Pakistani batter scored in triple figures.
In a career spanning over six years, Babar has smashed 3,985 runs from 83 One-Day Internationals. He has the second-best average (56.92) among batters who have played over 50 matches. Babar is only behind Indian captain Virat Kohli (58.77) on this list. The former has registered 14 centuries and 17 half-centuries as of now. His career-best score of 158 came against England last year.
The best knock of Babar's ODI career came in 2021. In the third ODI against England, he registered his second ODI ton of the year. He smashed 158 (139) with the help of 14 fours and 4 sixes. England won the match by three wickets.