Pakistan captain Babar Azam became the ICC ODI Player of the year following his impactful performance throughout 2021.
He beat the likes of Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan, Ireland’s Paul Stirling and South Africa’s Janneman Malan. Amongst the players Shakib actually was his tough contender to achieve the top post.
An I CC statement said: “Babar Azam might have played only six ODis in 2021, but he made vital contributions in the two series that Pakistan played this year.”
He was the second-highest run-scorer with 228 runs and was the Player of the Match in both of Pakistan's wins in the 2-1 series victory against South Africa. The architect of Pakistan's chase of 274 in the first ODI, Babar made a century and laid the foundation with an 82-ball 94 in the final ODI where the visitors posted 320 batting first.
He was the lone warrior for Pakistan when they were swept by England 3-0. He accumulated 177 runs in three games but found no support none of the other batters managed to score more than 100 in the series.
However, three Bangladeshi players—Mustafizur Rahman, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan made their way to the ICC ODI team of the year. But Shakib made him obvious.
The veteran all-rounder continued to showcase his class for Bangladesh in the 50-over format in 2021. In nine matches, he managed to score 277 runs at an average of 39.57 with two half-centuries. He also scalped up 17 wickets at an average of 17.52. He was in full flight in his return to international cricket in the series against West Indies at home, where he was adjudged the Player of the Series for his efforts.