Three Pakistani cricketers — Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Shah Afridi — have been named by the International Cricket Council (ICC) its T20I team of the year.
Azam, who captains the Pakistan side, has been named the skipper of the ICC team for the shortest format.
The team consists of Jos Butler, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Aiden Markram, Mitchell Marsh, David Miller, Tabraiz Shamsi, Josh Hazlewood, Wanindu Hasanranga, Mustafizur Rahman and Shaheen Shah Afridi.
According to an ICC statement on Wednesday, releasing a team of the year is a way to recognise 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”.
Praising skipper Azam for his outstanding display with the bat in the shortest format in 2021, the ICC said the batsman was at his “classy best” in the format last year, during which he was also the leading run-scorer at the T20 World Cup.
Azam played 29 matches and aggregated 939 runs at an average of 37.56 with one century and nine half-centuries, the ICC said.
The world cricket body also hailed Rizwan for his consistent performance last year.
“Aggregating a staggering 1,326 runs in only 29 matches, Rizwan struck at an average of 73.66 and a strike-rate of 134.89.” The ICC also recognised the Pakistani gloveman for his contributions behind the stumps.
Afridi’s “brilliant movement with the new ball and reversing it with the old” in matches last year was among notable highlights for the ICC.
The pacer picked up 23 wickets in 21 matches at an average of 26.04 and an economy of 7.86, the ICC said, adding that “he will undoubtedly prove to be a fearsome prospect.”