Pakistan must have had a topsy-turvy 2022 but that didn’t stop their captain and star-batter Babar Azam to keep performing on the top of his game. Despite having some mediocre outings across formats in the past year, one thing that remained certain was his numero uno position in ODIs that saw him winning the prestigious ICC Men’s ODI cricketer of the Year 2022 for the successive time. In nine ODI matches played last year, the right-handed Babar Azam scored 679 runs at an exceptional average of 84.87 including three centuries and five fifties.
Whereas England’s Test captain Ben Stokes is also handed the ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Year 2022 award for his dominant show not only with bat and ball last year, but also for his captaincy as well. His collaboration with England’s Test coach Brendon McCullum changed the side’s fortunes after their dismal run in the whites under Root’s leadership before that. In 2022, Stokes scored 870 runs at an average of 36.25 and a strike rate of 71.21, including two centuries. With the ball in hand, he picked up 26 wickets at an average of 31.19.
As a result, Stokes was also named the captain of the ICC Test Team of the Year 2022 with Babar Azam also included in the same.
ICC Men’s Test XI of 2022 – Usman Khawaja, Kraigg Brathwaite, Marnus Labuschagne, Babar Azam, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (captain), Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Pat Cummins, Kagiso Rabada, Nathan Lyon, James Anderson.
Babar Azam and Ben Stokes in 2022
For those who followed Pakistan’s home series against Australia knows what Babar did against the best bowling line-up in the world. In addition to scoring an incredible 196 off 425 balls in the second innings of the Karachi Test, Babar’s best knock of the series came during the Lahore ODI – where he scored his fastest hundred in 73 balls, scoring 114 off 83 balls to help his team chase down a mammoth 348 with one over to spare. Even during the last series of the year against New Zealand, Babar scored twin fifties in three ODIs, although that didn’t end in the result he would have liked.
On the other hand, England’s Test skipper Ben Stokes had a superb series against South Africa at home the past year. His first-innings 103 in the second Test was his best show with bat while he picked up four wickets in the same Test – ending the series with 15 scalps to his name at an average of 15.70.
Stokes’ England team adapted a new ‘Bazball’ approach that took the world by storm. This super-attacking style of play seemed to have helped England revive their Test cricket as they won all home and away series in 2022 – including clean sweeping Pakistan in away series for the first time.