The International Cricket Council on Thursday unveiled the final list of winners celebrated in the individual categories of the ICC Awards 2022. Among the categories revealed on ICC’s digital channels were the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year and the coveted Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year.
Pakistan’s Babar Azam was revealed the winner of the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy, as well as scooping the Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year prize, while England’s all-round sensation Nat Sciver emulates the feat by securing the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and the Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year award.
Elsewhere, Ben Stokes was confirmed the ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Year following a landmark spell as England captain, Richard Illingworth was named the ICC Umpire of the Year and Nepal wicketkeeper Aasif Sheikh was honoured in the Spirit of Cricket category.
The winners were selected following a global vote conducted among an independent panel of prominent media representatives – the ICC Voting Academy – whose votes were combined with those of cricket fans from around the world registered to icc-cricket.com.
Winners in the 13 individual categories were based on overall performances and achievements throughout the calendar year.
Babar Azam – Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy and Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year:
By winning the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy, Babar becomes the second winner from Pakistan in consecutive years, emulating the feat of his teammate Shaheen Shah Afridi, who won the prize in 2021. Babar also set new records in 2022, not least becoming the first, and still the only, player to win the ICC Men’s Player of the Month award on two occasions.
Picking up where he left off in 2021, Babar enjoyed another momentous year, captaining his side to two Finals, including the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia. At the crease, he piled on the runs in all formats, scoring over 2,500 international runs across ODIs, T20Is and Tests, ending the year as the leading run-scorer in the latter.
The Pakistan batter also claims the ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year award for a second successive year – the first to do this since Virat Kohli in 2017 and 2018. Babar consolidated his position atop the ODI batter rankings thanks to his staggering scoring consistency, registering 679 runs in 9 matches at an average of 84.87. Within these numbers came notable performances against the likes of Australia, West Indies and New Zealand.
Reacting to the awards, Babar said, “I feel humbled to have been voted as winner of the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy and join the ranks of some of the most iconic and respected names who have previously won the biggest and most prestigious individual award in our great sport. I continue to look up to these players as well as champions of the past for inspiration, motivation and improvement.
“As cricket is a team sport, this recognition and achievement would not have been possible without the overwhelming support of my family, team, fans and the institution, to all of whom I am greatly indebted and thankful.
“Every match I played for Pakistan has been special and memorable, but the most satisfying and accomplishing aspect for me was to compete and perform in front of my home fans against Australia, England and New Zealand’s touring sides. Of course, reaching the finals of two major tournaments in the United Arab Emirates and Australia were also some of the highlights for me and my team, and we hope to do better this year, which is going to be equally demanding but highly rewarding.”
Nat Sciver - Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year:
England’s Sciver enjoyed a remarkable year of form across all three formats of the game, and in claiming the prestigious Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, becomes the first English winner of the award since Sarah Taylor back in 2014.
A regular figure in a highly successful year for England in T20Is, she excelled in the longer format too, recording a classy half-century in the Women’s Ashes Test against Australia in January and a dominant 169 not out against a touring South Africa later in the year.
However the ODI format was where Sciver truly excelled in 2022, becoming the first English winner of the ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year award. She now stands second in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s ODI Player Rankings, after 833 runs during the year at 59.50.
Among her thrilling performances is the memorable century scored in the Women’s Cricket World Cup Final in March, where despite falling short of the mammoth total set by Australia, she took the fight to a fearsome bowling attack to record a memorable century, dragging her side back into contention in a high scoring spectacle.
Sciver evoked the legacy of Heyhoe Flint in her reaction, adding, “It’s lovely to have been awarded the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year, especially as Rachael was such a legend of the women’s game in England and Wales. It’s always a privilege to be given individual honours but no personal achievements are possible without the hard work and togetherness of the whole team. Picking up a trophy or a medal is all the more special when you do it alongside your teammates so hopefully that’s what 2023 has in store.”
“It means a lot to have been awarded the ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year. It’s funny that two of my standout moments in ODI cricket in 2022 came in losing causes. It’s a cliché, but I would happily swap individual honours for team success because they are the moments you really remember. Congratulations to my fellow award-winners and thank you very much for the award.”
ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Year:
Ben Stokes was an influential figure at the heart of the England team that saw a revival of fortunes in 2022. The former Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy winner becomes the third Englishman to win the ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Year award, behind teammate Joe Root who won the award last year, and Alastair Cook, who won in 2011.
Alongside his outstanding individual performances in the longest format, scoring 870 runs and taking 26 wickets, Stokes secured the England captaincy in April and this immediately heralded a return to success.
The England skipper drove a pioneering approach to Test captaincy, initiating a more direct, aggressive style of play in terms of both batting style, and declarations. Since the change, England have won nine of their last ten Tests, including dramatic series wins against Pakistan, South Africa and New Zealand.
Stokes reflected on a momentous year in the Test arena, commenting, “I’d like to thank the ICC, the panel and the fans for voting for me as the ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Year. This is down to the England players and management for what has been such a positive year in Test cricket. We have played some incredible cricket with series wins against New Zealand, South Africa, a significant performance against India and a historic victory in Pakistan.
“We are enjoying our cricket and love having fun wherever we play. The way in which we approach Test cricket is to excite the fans and making it a spectacle for everyone to get behind and enjoy regardless of the result for England.
“We cannot wait for what is in store over the next 12 months.”
Spirit of Cricket Award:
Nepal wicketkeeper Aasif Sheikh was announced the recipient of this year’s ICC Spirit of Cricket Award following his selfless decision to refuse the run-out of Andy McBrine of Ireland during their T20I contest in the Oman Quadrangular Series back in February.
In the 19th over of the first innings, Nepal bowler Kamal Singh collided with McBrine attempting to field the ball as the batters opted to take a quick single. With the Ireland batter left on the floor, the ball was thrown to the wicketkeeper, but with McBrine well short of his ground, Sheikh instead refused the run out, allowing the batter to complete the run.
Speaking on the moment for which he received the award, Sheikh commented, “It’s an honour for me to receive this award, as my coaches always taught me to be humble and play within the Spirit of Cricket.
“Talking about the moment, it was a spontaneous decision on our part not to take the wicket as it would have been unfair to the batter. We wouldn’t have been pleased with a wicket in those circumstances as it would have been against our culture, and the Spirit of the sport.”
ICC Umpire of the Year:
Richard Illingworth claims his second David Shepherd Trophy for ICC Umpire of the Year after previously winning in 2019. During 2022, Illingworth took charge of 24 international fixtures, and the Emirates Elite Panel Match Official was selected based on the consistency of his decision making and his communication and relationship with teams and captains during the calendar year.
Illingworth expressed his delighted at the award win, stating “I am very honoured to receive the ICC Umpire of the Year award. There have been many people, coaches, colleagues and management who have contributed towards my development over my career both as a player and umpire. Their input has been substantial and invaluable and I’m forever grateful to them.
I continue to be passionate about cricket and after many years in the professional game I will continue to learn and develop. I’d also like to thank my family who have given me such great support over the years to enable me to go out and enjoy my umpiring around the world.”
Content courtesy: ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020 via Online Media Zone.