The ICC Awards 2021 is going to recognize the outstanding performance of players in the last year. The world cricketing body has announced the nominees for the Men’s ODI Player of the Year. Shakib Al Hasan from Bangladesh, Babar Azam from Pakistan, Janneman Malan from South Africa, and Paul Stirling from Ireland find their names in this list.
The ICC banned Shakib Al Hasan from all cricket on October 29, 2019, for two years with one year of that suspended. In 2020, Covid affected international cricket and several series were canceled. Shakib, who was slated to return to cricket in October 2020 had to wait for a few more months to make his comeback.
He made his long-awaited comeback in January this year against West Indies and won the player of the series award. Shakib made 113 runs and picked six wickets in that series. In the last series against Zimbabwe, he made 145 runs and picked eight wickets in three matches. He won the player of the series award for the second time this year.
As far as Babar Azam is concerned, he was Pakistan’s leading run-scorer this year. He scored 405 runs in six matches at an average of 67.50 and a strike rate of 108, including two centuries and one half-century. He started this year with a century against South Africa when Pakistan traveled there.
Pakistan won two matches in the three-match series against South Africa and Babar won the player of the match award in both these games. They traveled to England in July and were whitewashed in a three-match series. Babar made 177 runs in three matches and came out as the lone warrior as no other batter was able to score over 100 runs in the series.
Janneman Malan makes an entry into ICC Awards
Janneman Malan made 509 runs in eight matches at an average of 84.83 and a strike rate of 92.04, including two centuries and two half-centuries. He made 70 runs in the very first match of the year against Pakistan. His best performance came against Ireland in the very next series when he made 261 runs in two matches including his highest score of 177 not-out in the third match and won the player of the series.
He carried his form to Sri Lanka in the three-match series and finished as the leading run-scorer. Malan smashed 121 runs off 135 balls in the second match of the series.
Another 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, including three centuries and two half-centuries. Stirling made 131 not-out against UAE in the first match of the year. He was the lone warrior for Ireland in almost all the series.
Against Afghanistan, Stirling scored 285 runs in three matches but Ireland lost the series by a 3-0 margin. Stirling again played a key role against the Netherlands as he made 126 runs in three matches. Despite, Stirling being the leading run-scorer this year, Ireland failed to win a single series this year and won only four out of 12 games.