Shaheen Afridi and Smriti Mandhana named ICC Cricketers of the Year 2021
Dubai, January 24, 2022
The International Cricket Council (ICC) today announced Pakistani pacer Shaheen Afridi as the recipient of the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the ICC Men's Cricketer of the Year 2021.
As part of the 2021 edition of the ICC Awards, the ICC also named Indian opener Smriti Mandhana as the recipient of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year 2021.
An ICC press release noted that Afridi has had a fabulous 2021 across all three formats of the game. He took 78 wickets in 36 internationals at an average of 22.20. His contribution in the Test and T20I formats of the game was phenomenal. At the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, Afridi took seven wickets in six matches aiding Pakistan formidably to make it to the semi-finals of the tournament. In the Test format, Afridi remained consistent and claimed 47 wickets in only nine matches at a staggering average of 17.06.
His most memorable performance was at the high stakes game against India at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. He claimed three wickets in that match which included the wickets of opening pair Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul and that of India captain Virat Kohli in the death overs.
Commenting on receiving the honour Shaheen Afridi, said: “I feel truly honoured and privileged to become the first Pakistan cricketer to win the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year. I had always dreamt of doing something unique and special for Pakistan. In this background, I am elated and thank Almighty for blessing me with this respect.
“I also feel humbled to join a galaxy of legends who have previously won the Garfield Sobers Trophy. I have grown up watching the exploits of these cricketers and now to be bracketed with them is a matter of great honour and pride for me, my family, my teammates and my country.
“This award is a testament to the high quality of cricket we played as a group during another difficult and challenging year. This required a lot of mental and physical toughness on a consistent basis, and I am glad we all were able to maintain the high standards to live up to the expectations of our fans.
“Every performance I gave for Pakistan was enjoyable and memorable and was made possible through the support of my teammates. But to me, the standout performances remained the three wickets against India in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, and the 18 wickets I took in the two-Test series against the West Indies in Jamaica.
“I look forward to 2022 with optimism and hope I will be able to contribute regularly in Pakistan’s successes as at the end of the day, it all depends how we perform as a team and unit.”
Mandhana has had a fabulous 2021 across all formats of the game. She scored, 855 runs in 22 internationals at an average of 38.86 which included one century and five half-centuries. In the limited-overs series against South Africa where India won two of the eight matches at home, Mandhana played a major role in both wins. She made 80 not out as India chased down 158 in the second ODI that helped them level the series and scored 48 not out in the win in the final T20I.
Mandhana also scored 78 in the first innings of the one-off Test against England that ended in a draw. In the ODI series against Australia, Mandhana scored 86 in the second ODI. She compiled a brilliant century in the only Test against Australia, which was also the first of her career and was awarded the Player of the Match.
Commenting on receiving the honour Smriti Mandhana, said: “I am truly honoured for receiving the prestigious Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year 2021. I am grateful to my teammates, my coaches, my family, friends and fans who believed in my potential and supported me in this journey. A recognition of such high class from the global governing body of cricket in an exceptional and difficult year will motivate me to continue to better my game and contribute to Team India’s success going forward.
“I look forward to 2022 with a clear focus on winning the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 in New Zealand as we continue to prepare as a team and unit.”