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The year 2021 is about to conclude and just like last year, even this year was a battle between the world and COVID-19 but it's safe to say that it was a people's win this time. 

The sports industry ensured that several pivotal provisions were added to ensure the safety of the players and a high standard aided millions who watch the sport live at home.

Cricket saw a healthy number of games being played this year, with the successful functioning of the IPL (both phases) and also an ICC event, the ICC Men's T20 World Cup.

Several players stood strong and showed what they got and produced exceptional numbers despite the peculiar scenario the world and the sports industry was in. Today, let's have a look at the players who impressed the most in 2021.

Joe Root

England's Test skipper Joe Root had a phenomenal year when it came to projecting runs and helping England move forward as a Test nation.

Joe Root was the clear winner among the "Fab four" if 2021 was to be considered and mind it, the gap was humongous. Let's have a look at his numbers in Tests this year. 

MatchesRunsAverage100s/50sHighest Score Strike Rate 
13*1541676/222857.65

Not to forget he has 3 more Test matches to add to his tally before the year ends. The best part is that he is at least 600 runs ahead of the second highest run-scorer (Rohit Sharma) so there's no one near to catch the English skipper. 

Mohammad Rizwan 

Mohammad Rizwan Pakistan 2021
Mohammad Rizwan (Image Credits: Wisden)

Rizwan had a fantabulous 2021 year especially in the T20 forecast as he scored over a 1000s this year. Rizwan alongside Babar Azam had a great World Cup outing as well except for the semi-final where they couldn't produce their best performance.

However, Rizwan still played an exceptional knock on that night despite being in the hospital for two days before the game. A truly dedicated player who gave everything for his nation. Let's have a look at his numbers.

MatchesRunsAverage100s/50sHighest Score Strike Rate 
26112374.861/10104*131.19

Rizwan is 270 clear of his opening partner and Pakistan skipper Babar Azam who has 853 runs this year. With another T20 World Cup on the cards in 2022, it will be very interesting to see how Rizwan keeps up with his numbers. 

Paul Stirling 

Yes, no Kohli, no Babar Azam, and no David Warner. It is the Irish Paul Stirling with the most ODI runs in 2021. Stirling had a great year and was not only Ireland's leading run-scorer but also the highest in ODIs in 2021.

However, it is debatable whether Janneman Malan who is 196 runs away from Stirling could've overtaken him had he played more. Paul Stirling played 14 ODIs compared to Malan's 8 and that's quite astonishing.

Let's have a look at Stirling's numbers.

MatchesRunsAverage100s/50sHighest Score Strike Rate 
1470554.233/2131*79.66

Wicket-taking stars

 

Ravichandran Ashwin 

It was Ashwin who ruled the charts in 2021 in the most conventional form of cricket. The fact that Ashwin barely played on the England tour shows how phenomenal he was in the games he played and proved his haters wrong.

Ashwin's ability to take wickets at any stage of the game proved beneficial for India and he has proven it himself with his numbers this year and the past 4-5 years.

Ashwin's numbers in Tests in 2021

Matches Wickets AverageEconomy 10w/5wBest Figures
85216.232.310/39/207

Second on the list was Shaheen Afridi with 47 wickets but he played a Test more than Ashwin and that's why Ashwin was undoubtedly the best in Tests in 2021.

Wanindu Hasaranga/ Tabraiz Shamsi 

An exquisite year for the two as they picked over 30 wickets in T20Is. Hasaranga for Sri Lanka and Shamsi for South Africa, were very consistent with their lines and often broke partnerships.

However, more credit goes to Hasaranga who picked as many wickets as Shamsi but in two fewer games. Hasaranga's numbers are as follows:

Matches Wickets AverageEconomy 4w/5wBest Figures
203611.635.441/04/9

Dushmantha Chameera 

Dushmantha Chameera Sri Lanka 2021
Dushmantha Chameera (Image Credits :CricketCountry)

A completely unexpected name or you can say a player that was not given the credit he deserved as what Chameera achieved is not something anyone does easily.

Let's have a look at his numbers.

Matches Wickets AverageEconomy 4w/5wBest Figures
142029.305.510/15/16

The second in the list was Simi Singh from Ireland with 19 wickets but the man from Nepal, Sandeep Lamichhane deserves a ton of credit as well. He is on road to end the year with 18 wickets, 2 less than the highest but what's amazing is the fact that Lamichhane achieved this in 8 fewer games.

Could he have taken more wickets if he played the same number of games? 

Who were your heroes for this year? Let us know! Stay tuned!

Cover Credits: BCCIoffical