- Rizwan dedicates his award to the people of Pakistan
The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Sunday named Pakistan's premier top-order batter Mohammad Rizwan as the T20I Cricketer of the Year for his "indomitable spirit and some breathtaking knocks" in 2021.
Rizwan had a brilliant year with the bat last year. The 29-year-old batter, who was not even in the top 150 in the ICC's T20I batting ranking in 2020, ended 2021 at the third spot. In 29 matches last year, the top-order batter scored record 1,326 runs at an average of 73.66 and a strike rate of 134.89 in 29 matches.
The right-handed player scored his maiden T20I century against South Africa in Lahore early in the year and ended the year with a brilliant knock of 87 against the West Indies in Karachi.
He was equally good during the T20 World Cup for Pakistan, where he finished as the third-highest run-scorer with 281 runs in just 6 outings.
His memorable innings against India in the WC opener earned special mention by ICC.
“Rizwan smacked 79* in only 55 deliveries, hitting six fours and three sixes. The ease with which he countered the Indian bowling attack was a thing of sheer beauty. He ensured that there were no hiccups in the run-chase as Pakistan galloped towards the target without losing a single wicket to seal a 10-wicket victory,” the ICC said in its press release.
Responding to the development, Rizwan said he dedicates his award to the people of Pakistan.
“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,” he tweeted.
The wicketkeeper-batter earned this award by defeating Australia's Mitchel Marsh, England's Jose Buttler, and Sri Lanka's Wanindu Hasaranga, who were in nominations for this year's Men's T20I Player of the Year award.