Babar Azam named captain of ICC T20I Team of the Year

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has named Pakistan’s Babar Azam as captain of its T20I Team of the Year 2021 that also features Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Shah Afridi.

“The ICC Team of the Year recognises 11 outstanding individuals who have impressed one and all – be it with the bat, the ball or their all-around exploits in a calendar year,” the cricket’s governing body said in a statement on Wednesday.

Commenting on why Babar was picked as the skipper, the ICC said he had a brilliant run with the bat throughout the year and was also very successful as a captain.

“The Pakistan skipper was at his classy best in the shortest format in 2021, leaving his best at the T20 World Cup where he ended the tournament as the leading run-scorer. Overall, Babar played 29 matches and aggregated 939 runs at an average of 37.56 with one century and nine half-centuries.

“His captaincy was also praised as he led his team to the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup in UAE and Oman,” the ICC said.

Other than Babar, Pakistan’s batter Rizwan, and bowler Shaheen Afridi also made the cut.

The ICC said that Rizwan, the Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter, ruled the roost in 2021 when it came to the shortest format of the game.

The right-handed batter aggregated a staggering 1,326 runs in only 29 matches at an average of 73.66 and a strike rate of 134.89, the statement added.

“Apart from his exploits with the bat, he was as solid as ever behind the stumps, playing a key role in Pakistan’s run to the semis during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, where he ended up as the third-highest run-scorer.”

Regarding Shaheen, the ICC said, “Extracting brilliant movement with the new ball and reversing it with the old, Afridi picked up 23 wickets in 21 matches at an average of 26.04 and an economy of 7.86.”

“Shaheen will likely lead the Pakistan pace bowling unit for years to come and with already rapid improvements in his bowling, he will undoubtedly prove to be a fearsome prospect,” the ICC said.

Here is the ICC Men’s T20I Team of the Year:

  1. Jos Buttler
  2. Mohammad Rizwan (WK)
  3. Babar Azam (C)
  4. Aiden Markram
  5. Mitchell Marsh
  6. David Miller
  7. Tabraiz Shamsi
  8. Josh Hazlewood
  9. Wanindu Hasaranga
  10. Mustafizur Rahman
  11. Shaheen Afridi