Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi on Monday was named as ICC’s Men Cricketer of the Year.
Shaheen took 78 wickets in 36 internationals at an average of 22.20 with best bowling figures of 6/51.
The tall Pakistani quick was on fire throughout 2021, knocking some of the best batters over across all three formats of the game. He especially had a year to remember in Tests and T20Is, reaching his peak during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in UAE where he impressed one and all with his sheer speed and skills.
He would take seven wickets in six matches during the tournament in Pakistan’s run to the semi-final. He ruled the shortest format throughout the calendar year, scalping 23 wickets in 21 matches with his death bowling improving by leaps and bounds.
After a slow start to the year in Test cricket in New Zealand, Afridi burst to life during the home series against South Africa. He continued his brilliant form throughout the rest of the year in the away tours of Zimbabwe, West Indies and Bangladesh. Overall, he claimed 47 wickets in only nine matches at a staggering average of 17.06.
A high-pressure encounter against India in Dubai beckoned in October. The T20 World Cup tournament opener for both sides with the history well and truly against Pakistan. But Afridi’s opening burst changed it all and evoked audible gasps from one and all at the wizardry on display.
He would first trap Rohit Sharma with a late in-dipper. This would be followed by the dismissal of KL Rahul, who saw his stumps knocked over with another peach of a delivery. India simply could not recover from this, slumping to their first-ever defeat against Pakistan at a World Cup. Later on, he would also get the prized scalp of Virat Kohli in the death overs.
India opening batter Smriti Mandhana has been named as ICC Women’s Cricketer of 2021.