Monday, August 8, 2022

Pakistan’s Shaheen Shah Afridi is ICC Player of the Year 2021


International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday named Pakistan’s young pacer Shaheen Afridi as the winner of Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ‘Player of the Year’ for 2021.

Topped by a sizzling opening spell against India at last year’s T20 World Cup encounter where he dismissed both Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, Shaheen Afridi took 78 wickets in 36 internationals at an average of 22.20 with best bowling figures of 6/51 in the year 2021.


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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.

Swing, seam, sheer pace and sizzling yorkers – Shaheen Shah Afridi gave an exhibition of it all in the year 2021.

Earlier, Pakistan’s all-format Captain Babar Azam and wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan won accolades of ICC ODI Player Of The Year and T20I Player Of The Year respectively.

Memorable spell

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 Shaheen 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.

The numbers (3/31) simply do not do justice to what everyone witnessed from Shaheen on that fateful day in Dubai.


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What Indian cricketers said

Indian captain Virat Kohli was left in awe of Afridi’s spell during the match-up. Heaping praises, Kohli said post-match: “He put our batsmen under pressure immediately with the new ball, and he ran in with intensity and showed that he’s bowling in consistent areas, so as batsmen you are forced to be a bit watchful.

“That spell kind of put us on the back foot immediately, and from there on to get those extra 20, 25 runs, in the end, seemed pretty difficult when you lose three wickets for 20 runs.”


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