The ICC Awards 2021 is going to recognize the outstanding performance of players in the last year. The nominee for the ICC Men’s best player of the year was announced which included a talismanic all-rounder, two dashing openers, and the top-ranked batter in the 50-over format of the game.
1) Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh)
A two-year ban for Shakib Al Hasan was imposed by the ICC on October 29, 2019, with one year suspended from his participation in any cricket. In 2020, the Coronavirus had an impact on international cricket, resulting in several series being canceled. The Bangladesh allrounder, who was scheduled to make his comeback in October 2020, had to wait a few more months to make his return.
He made a long-awaited comeback against West Indies in January 2021, winning the player of the series award. In that series, Shakib scored 113 runs and picked up six wickets. His last series against Zimbabwe saw him score 145 runs and pick up eight wickets in three matches. As a result, he won the series player of the year which was his second that year.
2) Babar Azam (Pakistan)
Babar Azam has been Pakistan's leading run-scorer for the year 2021. The Pakistani batsman scored 405 runs in six matches, an average of 67.50, with a strike rate of 108, including two centuries and one half-century. The year started off with him hitting a century in South Africa when Pakistan was on tour.
The Pakistan team won two matches in the three-match series against South Africa, with Babar winning the player of the match award in both matches. In July, they toured England and were thoroughly swept in a three-match series. Though Babar Azam came out as the lone warrior as no other batter scored over 100 runs in the series, with only him making 177 runs in three matches.
3) Janneman Malan (South Africa)
A total of 509 runs was scored by Janneman Malan in eight matches at an average of 84.83 and 92.04 strike rate, including two centuries and two half-centuries. He scored 70 runs against Pakistan in the very first match of the year. In the very next series, he scored 261 runs in two matches including his highest score of 177 not out in the third match and won the player of the series against Ireland.
Janneman Malan is in some serious form 💥— Cricket on BT Sport (@btsportcricket) July 16, 2021
The pick of the bunch as he finished unbeaten on 177...
Smashed over extra cover 🤤 pic.twitter.com/yEQnUMoCGo
He didn't stop there, carrying his form to Sri Lanka in the three-match series, finishing as the leading run-scorer. The South African batsman smashed 121 runs off 135 balls in the second match of the series.
4) Paul Stirling (Ireland)
The final nomination Paul Stirling finished as the leading run-scorer in ODIs this year with 705 runs in 14 matches at an average of 54.23 and a strike rate of 79.66, which included three centuries and two half-centuries. The Irish batsman scored 131 not-out against UAE in the first match of the year, batting as a lone warrior for Ireland in almost all the series.
Against Afghanistan, the opener scored 285 runs in three matches but Ireland lost the series by a 3-0 margin. Paul Stirling again played a crucial role against the Netherlands as he scored 126 runs in three matches. But despite all his heroics, Ireland failed to win a single series this year and has won only four out of the 12 played.
In a turbulent year, the game still found its way through the obstacles with some excellent performances peppered throughout the year. With each nominee writing the case for the much-coveted title on their own. Who do you place your bets to take home the prize this year., comment your thoughts below.