The Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan was today named the T20 cricketer of the year by ICC for his consistent performances at the top of the order with the bat in the shortest format of the game in 2021.
Mohammad Rizwan, who was not even seen as someone who could have a long career in T20 cricket at the initial stage of his career, proved his worth in the last couple of years when the former Pakistan head coach Misbah ul Haq decided to promote him as an opener.
Rizwan took a great liking to the new role given to him and went from strength to strength scoring heaps of runs in almost all the T20 series he played since 2020, including the recent T20 World Cup as well where he was one of the leading run scorers.
The Pakistan wicketkeeper averaged 73 with the bat in T20 cricket in 2021 and struck the ball at a rate of 134 per 100 balls. His consistency and tempo upfront was one of the main reasons why Pakistan was able to complement their quality bowling with the bat and managed to dominate the group round of T20 World Cup in UAE.
In his reaction after winning the award, Rizwan said that a lot of people behind the scenes have worked on his game whether it’s the analysts or the coaches and even his teammates who have supported him throughout his career. The credit of this award goes to all those who have had any bit of role to play in his game.
Bus Allah se hota hai
Allah k ghair se nahi hota.
I am grateful to everyone for their support and love. In sha Allah, the journey has just started. This award is dedicated to Pakistan and the beautiful people of Pakistan. #PakistanZindabad https://t.co/RrMYw9YaANAdvertisement
— Mohammad Rizwan (@iMRizwanPak) January 23, 2022
This award is for Pakistan and not for me: Mohammad Rizwan
Rizwan also stressed that with him getting this award, the reputation of the Pakistan cricket team will enhance and that’s what he is most happy about. It’s not about him individually, but whatever he does is about Pakistan cricket.
It was anticipated widely anyway that Rizwan was the strongest contender for the award because of the bulk of runs he scored the entire year and nobody was caught by surprise when his name was actually announced. It is the first time in the last 4 years that a Pakistani player has won an ICC award. The last time a Pakistani player had won it was in 2017 when Hasan Ali was named emerging player of the year by ICC.
Because of Pakistan’s up and down performances and regular chop and changes, there was hardly any Pakistani player who was even in contention for an ICC award in the last little while. However, this year, apart from Rizwan, a couple of Pakistani players are in contention for other ICC awards as well.