Babar Azam not included as nominations for Test Cricketer of the Year revealed

The 28-year-old has amassed the highest 1184 runs in nine matches including four hundreds

Babar Azam not included as nominations for Test Cricketer of the Year revealed PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan captain Babar Azam is not included in the nominations for ICC Test Cricketer of the Year despite scoring the most runs in 2022.

The 28-year-old has amassed the highest 1184 runs in nine matches including four hundreds, Babar failed to get nominated for the award in the elite format of the game. 

ALSO READ: Babar Azam among nominees for ICC Men's ODI Player of the Year

England's Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow, Australia's Usman Khawaja and South Africa's Kagiso Rabada are nominated for the award.

Ben Stokes - England

870 runs and 26 wickets in 15 matches; nine wins as captain

The year that was

Ben Stokes, along with Brendon McCullum has changed the fortunes of English Test cricket in 2022. Struggling for results and at the rock-bottom of the World Test Championship standings, Stokes took over an English side that was struggling for confidence.

His inspirational leadership has now built up a confident and attacking unit, who have won nine out of 10 Test matches under his tenure in 2022. Stokes has repeatedly stated about taking the fear of failure away from the players and that has reflected in the ultra-aggressive brand of cricket that England play under him.

Stokes has also led the charge by example, having a good year with both bat and ball. He has scored 870 runs, two centuries and four half-centuries and also scalped 26 wickets at an average of 31.19. 

Memorable performance

England had their first hiccup under the Stokes era, losing the first Test against South Africa at home. Needing a response, Stokes stood up and delivered the goods, scoring a brilliant 103 in the first innings. He also registered figures of 2/17 and 2/30 in the match, as England roared back to hand South Africa an innings defeat in Manchester, enroute to winning the series 2-1. 

Jonny Bairstow - England

1061 runs in 10 matches

The year that was

Jonny Bairstow has arguably been the biggest benefactor of Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes taking over the leadership of England's Test team. Given the freedom to play his attacking game, Bairstow had one of the most fruitful years of his Test career, leading to somewhat of a resurgence. 

Bairstow played 10 Test matches in 2022, scoring 1061 runs at a staggering average of 66.31 and a strike rate of 76. He notched up 6 centuries and 1 half-century, showcasing his brilliant conversion rate. The year could have been all the more better if not for a freak golf injury, which ruled him out of the final home Test against South Africa and the tour of Pakistan. 

Memorable performance

Bairstow showcased what a threat he had become in the middle-order in the rescheduled fifth Test against India. He first hit a counter-attacking 106 off 140 in the first innings to help England stay alive in the game in Birmingham. In the second innings, he went one better, scoring 114 and establishing a brilliant stand with Joe Root as England chased down 378 to level the series.

Usman Khawaja - Australia

1080 runs in 11 matches

The year that was

Khawaja made his return to the Australian side from the wilderness in 2022 during the Ashes and ensured that no one was taking his spot away again. There were some memorable performances, both in the middle order and then as an opener. 

Khawaja played a vital role in Australia's batting unit during the latter half of the Ashes, as well as their famous win during the away tour of Pakistan. Overall, he scored 1080 runs in 11 matches at a stunning average of 67.50. He has four centuries and five half-centuries in the calendar year as his contributions have helped Australia put one foot in the World Test Championship final. 

Memorable performance

Making a comeback in the side after a prolonged absence, Khawaja punished the England bowlers during the Sydney Test in the Ashes. He scored centuries in both innings (137 and 101*), as Australia aimed to take a 4-0 lead in the series. Final day heroics from the England though ensured that they held on for a draw but Khawaja nevertheless had made his presence felt.  

Kagiso Rabada - South Africa

47 wickets in nine matches

The year that was

Kagiso Rabada was again South Africa's shining light with the ball in 2022, delivering breakthroughs at crucial junctures. He had a year to remember, starring in some famous Test victories for South Africa against India, New Zealand and England. 

Overall, Rabada picked up 47 wickets in only nine matches at a remarkable average of 22.25 and a devastating strike-rate of 34.1. He also registered two five-wicket hauls, with best figures of 5/52. 

Memorable performance

Rabada was on a rampage in the first Test against England at Lord's, bowling some fiery spells. He registered figures of 5/52 in the first innings, helping South Africa bowl England out for 165. He then followed it up with a disciplined performance of 2/27 in the second innings, as South Africa bowled England out for 149 to win the match by an innings and 12 runs to take a 1-0 series lead.