Pakistan left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi was on Monday named as the ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year for 2021.
After the development, Afridi, 21, is has now become the youngest cricketer ever to get the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy and is also the first Pakistani player to receive the honour. Meanwhile, it is also the fourth individual trophy won by by Pakistan in this edition of the ICC awards.
Notably, Afridi, was on fire throughout 2021 as he knocked out some of the best batters over across all three formats of the game and reached his peak during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in UAE where he impressed one and all with his sheer speed and skills.
At the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, Afridi scalped seven wickets from just six matches and helped Pakistan formidably enter the semi-finals of the tournament.
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.
In the Test format, Afridi remained consistent and claimed 47 wickets in only nine matches at a staggering average of 17.06.
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,” he added.
Afridi further felt that the most magnificent performances for him was the one against India when he packed back the star Indian trio of Rohit, Rahul and Kohli.
“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,” he said.
“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,” Afridi expressed.
Significantly, Pakistani players rule the ICC Awards 2021 as apart from Afridi, skipper Babar Azam has been named as the ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year, Fatima Sana as ICC Emerging Women’s Cricketer of the Year 2021 while wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan as the ICC Men’s T20I Cricketer of the Year.