Pakistan’s star cricketer Mohammad Rizwan has been named the Men’s T20 Cricketer of the Year by the International Cricket Council as it announces the winners of the ICC Awards in various categories.
“Sheer consistency, indomitable spirit and some breathtaking knocks — the ICC Men’s T20I Cricketer of the Year enjoyed a memorable run in 2021,” a statement issued by the ICC said.
Wicket keeper-batter Rizwan, while sharing his views on the achievement, said he is more happy because Pakistan has won the award.
“It is a pleasure to see Pakistan’s name among the top teams of the world,” Rizwan said in a conversation with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Rizwan gave credit for his award to the team management, his fellow cricketers and analysts, saying that “team Pakistan has a standing in [the top squads of] the world due to everyone’s hard work”.
PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja congratulated Rizwan on a “well deserved achievement”. He lauded the cricketer, saying:
“Your humility, attitude and hard work defines you,” and wished more laurels and success to him.
Meanwhile, PCB’s official Twitter account also posted a congratulatory tweet for Rizwan.
Rizwan, taking to Twitter, expressed gratitude towards Allah and his fans for the award and dedicated it to the country and Pakistani nation.
The Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter ruled the roost in 2021 when it came to the shortest format of the game. Aggregating a staggering 1,326 runs in only 29 matches, Rizwan struck at an average of 73.66 and a strike rate of 134.89.
Apart from his exploits with the bat, he was as solid as ever behind the stumps, playing a key role in Pakistan’s run to the semis 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.
Though a chase of 152 looked easy on paper, Pakistan had the weight of history against them in the T20 World Cup encounter against India. 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 that a famous victory would be sealed that would be celebrated in the history of Pakistan cricket for years to come.
Rizwan smacked 79* in only 55 deliveries, hitting six fours and three sixes. The ease with which he countered the Indian bowling attack was a thing of sheer beauty. He ensured that there were no hiccups in the run-chase as Pakistan galloped towards the target without losing a single wicket to seal a 10-wicket victory.