Dubai (UAE) | Jagran Sports Desk: Indian opener Smriti Mandhana on Monday was named the International Cricket Council (ICC) Women's Cricket of the Year for her incredible across formats in 2021. Meanwhile, Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi was named ICC Men's Cricketer of the Year.
"A year to remember. Smriti Mandhana's quality at the top of the order was on full display in 2021," the global cricketing body said in a Tweet.
"Sizzling spells, sheer display of pace and swing and some magical moments. Shaheen Afridi was unstoppable in 2021," it said in another Tweet.
Mandhana had a phenomenal 2021. In the limited-overs series against South Africa where India won just two of the eight matches at home, Mandhana played a major role in both of the wins. She made 80 not out as India chased down 158 in the second ODI that helped them level the series and scored 48 not out in the win in the final T20I.
The 25-year-old played a sublime innings of 78 in the first innings of the one-off Test against England that ended in a draw. She played an important knock of 49 in India's only win in the ODI series. Her 15-ball 29 and fifty in the T20I series went in vain though as India fell short in both the matches and lost the series 2-1.
The Southpaw was in good touch in the series against Australia, starting with the ODI series where she scored 86 in the second ODI. She compiled a brilliant century in the only Test (the first of her career), and was awarded the Player of the Match. She scored her second T20I fifty of the year in the final T20I, though India fell short and lost the series 2-0.
Much like Mandhana, Afridi was also unstoppable in 2021. He 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.
(With PTI, ANI inputs)
Posted By: Aalok Sensharma