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Babar Azam named in ICC ODI team of the year

The prolific batsman however was not included in the ICC Test team of the year despite a stellar year

PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan’s Twenty20 International (T20I) captain was named in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC’s) One-day International (ODI) team of the year. The prolific batsman however was not included in the ICC Test team of the year despite a stellar year in the longest format scoring 616 runs in six Tests at an average of 68.44 in tough oversees conditions of Australia and South Africa.

While speaking in a video released by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Babar was grateful to the cricket governing body for recognising his efforts.

"I am thankful to ICC & its jury for recognising my achievements with the bat in 2019 & considering me worthy of a place in the side that includes some of my favourite cricketers who entertained the fans throughout the year with their outstanding performances," said Babar. "However, I will reserve my biggest gratitude to my team-mates and fans as without their support this would not have been possible. We played and performed as one team, with the fans always behind us despite our up and down performances."

The ODI team of the year consisted of four players from India whereas five players from Australia were included in the Test team of the year.

India’s captain Virat Kohli, England’s all-rounder Ben Stokes and Australia’s pacer Mitchell Starc were the only players to be included in the team of the year for both formats. Kohli was also named captain of both the ICC Test and ODI teams of the year.

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Stokes was named the ICC player of the year, capping an unforgettable 2019 for the swashbuckling cricketer that included a match-winning knock at the World Cup.

Stokes was the unanimous choice for the coveted Sir Garfield Sobers trophy — thanks to his unbeaten 84 in a dramatic final against New Zealand in July followed by a brilliant 135 not out to win the third Ashes Test against Australia six weeks later in Leeds.

Stokes, 28, said it was a huge honour for any cricketer to receive such an award. "To be recognised and be the person to win that (award) it's pretty amazing," he said in a video statement.

During the voting period, Stokes aggregated 719 runs and bagged 12 wickets in 20 ODIs. He also scored 821 runs and took 22 wickets in 11 Tests.

Indian opener Rohit Sharma was named the ODI cricketer of the year while captain Virat Kohli bagged the Spirit of Cricket award for his gesture to stop fans from booing Australia's Steve Smith during a World Cup match.

Smith was returning to international cricket from a one-year suspension for changing the condition of the ball.

"I'm surprised that I have got it, after many years of being under the scanner for the wrong things," Kohli said in a statement put out by ICC.

"That moment was purely understanding an individual's situation. I don't think a guy who is coming out of a situation like that needs to be taken advantage of."

In other major awards, Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins was named the Test player of the year and teammate Marnus Labuschagne was declared emerging cricketer of the year.

ICC Test team of the year: Mayank Agarwal, Tom Latham, Marnus Labuschagne, Virat Kohli (captain), Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, BJ Watling (wicketkeeper), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Neil Wagner, Nathan Lyon

ICC ODI team of the year:  Rohit Sharma, Shai Hope, Virat Kohli (captain), Babar Azam, Kane Williamson, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Mitchell Starc, Trent Boult, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav