Nominees for Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Player of the Year 2022 revealed

2022 was yet another year of Babar Azam making and breaking records

Nominees for Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Player of the Year 2022 revealed PHOTO: ICC

The four nominees for the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the ICC Player of the Year put up memorable performances in 2022. We take a look at their achievements.

Babar Azam - Pakistan

2598 runs in 44 matches

The year that was

2022 was yet another year of Babar Azam making and breaking records. Babar was the only player to breach the 2000-run mark in the calendar year across formats, with his 2598 runs coming at an average of 54.12, which included eight hundreds and 17 fifties.

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

The 2021 ICC Men's ODI Player of the Year continued to rule in the 50-over format, scoring 679 runs in nine matches. It is a testament to his consistency that he registered scores of 50 or more in eight of those innings. He continues to hold on to his top spot in the MRF Tyres ICC Men's ODI Player Rankings and is once again in the running to win the ICC Men's ODI Player of the Year 2022.

Babar also enjoyed a tremendous year in Test cricket, despite the team results not going his way. He accumulated 1184 runs in just nine matches and did the bulk of the heavy lifting for Pakistan in the longer format.

It was also a memorable year for Babar as captain in the white-ball formats – Pakistan won all three ODI series they played, losing just one match out of nine. In the T20I format, he led Pakistan to their first T20 World Cup Final since 2009. 

Memorable performance

The chips are down, Pakistan are staring at defeat but one man stood between Australia and victory in the second Test in Karachi. 

Pakistan were bowled out for 148 in the first innings, giving Australia a mammoth 408-run lead. The visitors batted again and set them a target of 506 with close to six sessions remaining. 

Pakistan got off to the worst possible start, losing two wickets with just 21 runs on board and with five sessions remaining. In walked Babar Azam and thus began a gritty 10-hour marathon that almost took Pakistan from an inevitable defeat to almost pulling off an impossible win.

His 425-ball 196 not only fetched him his first Test century in two years but also his highest Test score. He stitched crucial partnerships, first with Abdullah Shafique (228-run stand) and then Mohammad Rizwan (115 runs). 

The equation was down to 196 runs in 36 overs but the wicket of Babar four runs short of a well-deserved double ton followed by two quick scalps shut down all hopes of victory. 

Babar Azam walked off to a standing ovation, having registered the highest score by a Test captain in the fourth innings of a Test.

Ben Stokes - England

1066 runs and 33 wickets in 28 matches

The year that was

England were living a nightmare in Test cricket after humiliating series losses in the Ashes and the series against West Indies. Joe Root resigned as the Test skipper and the reins were handed over to Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum, the coach.

Since then, Stokes has taken England to new heights, winning nine of the 10 Tests as captain. Along the way, he has scored 870 runs, including two centuries and picked up 26 wickets.

The talismanic all-rounder did not have a brilliant white-ball year. In fact, he announced his retirement from ODI cricket to focus on the other formats. In T20Is, scored 143 runs in nine matches and picked up seven wickets. The numbers may not seem significant, but 52 of those runs came when England needed it the most. 

Memorable performance

2022 will be remembered for Ben Stokes' captaincy and performances in Test cricket but it is his innings of 52* in the final of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup that proved to be invaluable. 

The bowlers, including Stokes who picked up one wicket, did their job in the first innings to restrict Pakistan to just 137 in the final. But given the circumstances under which they made the final, Pakistan showed incredible belief and scalped three big wickets inside the Powerplay. 

Batting at No.4, Stokes came in clutch for England and showed great temperament at time when the dugout was jittery after the early wickets. He was going at less than run-a-ball for the most part of the innings but took the game deep to keep England alive.

He turned the tide in England favour with a six and a four off Iftikhar Ahmed in the 16th over. He got to his fifty, which was his first in the 2022 T20 World Cup as well as his only half-century in limited-overs cricket this year, and hit the winning runs to bury the ghosts of Eden Garden from 2016.

Sikandar Raza - Zimbabwe

1380 runs and 33 wickets in 39 matches

The year that was

Sikandar Raza emerged as a crisis man for Zimbabwe in a year that saw the African country's stocks rise in international cricket. 

Raza was a force to reckon with in both white-ball formats, scoring more than 600 runs in both T20Is and ODIs. The star all-rounder enjoyed his most prolific year with both bat and ball since making his debut in 2013. 

Raza scored 645 runs at an average of 49.61 in ODIs. All three of his centuries in the 50-over format came when the chips were down while chasing – two of them resulted in wins over Bangladesh and the final one gave India a huge scare.

In T20Is, Raza struck at an incredible strike rate of over 150 to accumulate his 745 runs. He was also the highest wicket-taker for in the shortest format, scalping 25 while giving away just 6.13 an over.

He was the Player of the Tournament at T20 World Cup Qualifier B in July and carried his form into the marquee event, winning the Player of the Match thrice, including Zimbabwe's epic win over Pakistan.

Memorable performance

Sikandar Raza scored a mountain of runs for Zimbabwe in 2022 but it was his bowling spell in the T20 World Cup match against Pakistan that made the most impact.

Chasing just 131 runs for the win, Pakistan recovered from the early stutter and were cruising along to a win. At one point, they needed only 43 off 39 balls but that's when Raza weaved his magic with the ball.

Having been hit for a six the previous ball, Raza roared back with consecutive wickets of Shadab Khan and Haider Ali. In the next over, he scalped the well-set Shan Masood down the leg side with a stumping, thus turning the tide of the game in the five balls he bowled.

The pacers held their nerve in the final overs and led Zimbabwe to a memorable win.

Tim Southee - New Zealand

65 wickets in 31 matches (correct at time of publication)

The year that was

The ever-reliable Tim Southee was one of the stars for New Zealand with the ball in 2022. Southee was consistently amongst the wickets and finished with 65 scalps, the highest by a Kiwi in the calendar year.

In a year where New Zealand were far from their best as a team in Tests where they finished without a single series win, Southee was the highest wicket-taker for his country with 28 wickets in eight matches.

The 34-year-old was particularly lethal in the white-ball formats, picking up crucial wickets across all phases of the game. He was a vital cog in the New Zealand team that went through to the semi-final of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, snaring seven wickets in five matches at a miserly economy rate of 6.57.

Memorable performance

Tim Southee set the tone for the rest of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup with a stunning spell of 3/6 in the opening match of the tournament against neighbours and hosts Australia.

Southee struck off his very first ball of the tournament to dismiss David Warner and added another in the Powerplay with the wicket of Mitchell Marsh, all while giving away just six runs.

It was he who started Australia's downfall on the day and it he who finished it as well as the hosts succumbed to an 89-run defeat on the opening day.