DUBAI, JAN 23: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Sunday named Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan as the T20I Cricketer of the Year for his sheer “consistency, indomitable spirit and plenty of breathtaking knocks” last year.
Earlier this week, the ICC had also included Rizwan in its T20I team of the year featuring two more Pakistani players — Babar Azam and Shaheen Shah Afridi.
“The Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman ruled the roost in 2021 when it came to the shortest format of the game,” the ICC said of Rizwan after crowning him as the top T20I player of the year.
The player aggregated a staggering 1,326 runs in only 29 matches at an average of 73.66 and a strike-rate of 134.89 last year.
According to the cricket body, Rizwan was “as solid as ever behind the stumps”, playing a key role in Pakistan’s run to the semi-final during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, where he ended up as the third-highest run-scorer.
He also scored the maiden T20I century of his career against South Africa in Lahore early in the year and ended it continuing his form with a “brilliant knock” of 87 against West Indies in Karachi.
“With another T20 World Cup coming up next year, Pakistan will hope that Rizwan continues in the same vein,” said the ICC.
The global cricket body also appreciated Rizwan for his impressive innings in the World T20 fixture against India that helped Pakistan beat its arch-rivals for the first time in any world cup.
“With the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami in opposition attack, the task was made all the more complicated. But as was almost always the case in 2021, Rizwan along with his skipper Babar Azam ensured to seal a famous victory that will be remembered in the history of Pakistan cricket for years to come.”
Rizwan had smacked an unbeaten 79 runs off 55 balls, hitting six fours and three sixes in the high-profile match against India.