Very recently, the ICC revealed the nominees for both Men's and Women's Cricketer of the Year, T20I Cricketer of the Year, ODI Cricketer of the Year, and Test Cricketer of the Year for both categories.
In the Women's division, Smriti Mandhana made India proud once again as she was nominated for both the T20I format and also as the Women's Cricketer of the Year. Today, we'll have a detailed look at the nominees and which one of them has the highest chances of winning it.
1) Gaby Lewis (Ireland)
Starting with Ireland Cricketer Gaby Lewis, she had an excellent year in 2021, especially the beginning when she bagged two Player of the Match awards in Ireland's 3-1 conquest over Scotland.
She was close to a 50 in the second and fourth T20I, missing each by three runs and a run respectively. However, her best time was yet to come as she made it to the history books in the ICC Women's T20 World Cup qualifiers, becoming the first-ever Irish woman to fire a T20I ton as she scored 105* in just 60 balls against Germany.
However, the fact that she was the best on her side and didn't make an impact both individually and collectively when compared to others, Lewis will have to make peace and take pride with the nomination.
2) Smriti Mandhana (India)
Millions of Indians' favorite, Smriti Mandhana didn't have the best of 2021 but still clearly outperformed every other batswoman except for the other three nominated.
Mandhana's sluggish start converted into big knocks as she batted with more authority. India didn't perform at the levels anticipated but Mandhana still turned up as the lone warrior and played some exhilarating knocks.
In the limited-overs format, India just won two out of the total 8 matches and both the triumphs had one common factor, Smriti. She scored an unbeaten 80* as India successfully chased 158 in the second ODI, and also scored a vital 48* in the final game of the T20I series.
The hurting part comes now as we know that Mandhana has much more to her game and we've already seen glimpses in this very year, sometimes in the innings mentioned above and also in the Big Bash League. Hopefully, a nomination is just the beginning, and next year we'll witness Mandhana expressing her skills with more promise and passion.
Anyway, Mandhana remains one of the favorites and at least is prioritized by the Indians.
3) Tammy Beaumont (England)
The favorite for the award, Beaumont had quite an impressive 2021. She scored runs, she won trophies, and she seemed to be present everywhere.
Her tale of excellence commenced with three consecutive 50s in three ODIs against the Kiwis and guess what? Each one of them on foreign soil.
This was just the tip of the iceberg as her form continued to trouble New Zealand in the T20I series as well where she concluded the series as the highest run-scorer. An exquisite batswoman, Beaumont, the opener is close to 1700 runs, while the 25-year-old Mandhana is way ahead with 1971 runs despite playing 13 games less.
If this is considered then we could see the Indian getting picked over. However, the fact that Beaumont scored 872 runs in 2021, she is the highest run-scorer in 2021 and evidently more likely to claim the trophy.
4) Lizelle Lee (South Africa)
The Proteas Lizelle Lee also had a great 2021 as she ended the year with 632 runs in just 11 ODI matches, leading in the format and also staying at the top in the ICC Women's ODI batting rankings.
Her numbers in white-ball cricket were second to none this year and it's safe to say that she's not far away from being an ideal candidate for the trophy. But unfortunately, Beaumont still has a more all-around profile this year and that's the reason why the English cricketer will edge it.
It's great to see so many new names coming up and just to be clear, the ones who didn't make it to the list aren't far away as Women's cricket is done with the baby steps of progress and seems fully equipped with talent and passion to take leaps.
The upcoming years are anticipated to have stronger competition. Very soon, we would witness more names rising among the ranks, challenging for every possible spot, not just with the bat but also with the ball and on the field.
Stay tuned as we enter 2022 with more ambition and promise in Women's cricket.