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ICC men’s teams of the year show big change: India’s worst show in 6 yrs, Pakistan’s best in 17

Only 3 Indians made it to the teams, all of them in Tests, while Pakistan players appeared 8 times across the formats — 3 in Tests, two in ODIs and 3 in T20Is.

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New Delhi: The 2021 edition of the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s annual men’s teams of the year for Tests, ODIs and T20Is, announced this week, has shown the contrasting fortunes of arch-rivals India and Pakistan across formats in the last 12 months.

Three Indian players featured across the teams — all in the Test team — while Pakistani players recorded eight appearances across the three lists — three in the Test team, two in the ODI team, and three in the T20I team.

This represents India’s worst performance in the annual lists since 2015, when off-spinner R. Ashwin featured as the twelfth man in the Test team, and pace bowler Mohammed Shami was named in the ODI team.

The ICC didn’t name an annual T20I men’s team prior to 2021.

In contrast, Pakistan achieved its best-ever performance since ICC instituted the teams of the year lists in 2004, reflecting how the team is growing under Babar Azam as captain.

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Best in Tests

Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant and Ashwin are the three Indian players in the ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year. 

Sharma scored 906 runs from 21 innings in 2021 at an average of 47.68. Pant scored 748 runs at 39.36 and effected 39 dismissals. Ashwin picked up 54 wickets from 18 innings at 16.64. 

From Pakistan, middle-order batsman Fawad Alam and pacers Hasan Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi featured in the Test team. 

While Alam plundered 571 runs from 13 innings last year at 57.10, Hasan Ali took 41 wickets from 15 innings at 16.07 and Afridi picked up 47 wickets from 17 innings at 17.06. 

Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne, England’s Joe Root, New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and Kyle Jamieson, and Sri Lanka’s Dimuth Karunaratne made up the rest of the team, with the NZ batsman serving as captain.

White-ball line-ups

India only played six ODIs in 2021 as the longest and shortest formats took precedence, including the World Test Championship final and the T20 World Cup. 

Not a single Indian featured in ICC’s ODI Team of the Year. Shikhar Dhawan was the only player who featured in all of India’s ODI games. 

However, the ICC also didn’t name a single Indian in the T20 team, reflecting the team’s poor show at the year’s flagship white-ball tournament — the T20 World Cup in the UAE, where India crashed out at the Super 12s stage after defeats to Pakistan and New Zealand.

From Pakistan, top order batsmen Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman were named in the ODI team, with Azam named as captain. Azam and Afridi also featured in the T20I team, alongside wicket-keeper and opener Mohammad Rizwan.

Pakistan’s all-formats captain Azam enjoyed a particularly prolific year, racking up 405 runs at 67.50 in ODIs, and 939 runs at a strike rate of 127.58 in T20Is.

Players from Bangladesh, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Ireland made up the rest of the ODI line-up, while South Africa and world champions Australia largely dominated the T20 squad.

(Edited by Amit Upadhyaya)

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