The Financial Express

3 players in the men's Team of the Year - can we be hopeful?

| Updated: January 22, 2022 18:59:51

3 players in the men's Team of the Year - can we be hopeful?

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has published its Men’s ODI team of the year for 2021 in an effort to recognise noteworthy performances from players both with the bat and the ball. 

This year, alongside players from just 4 other countries, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mustafizur Rahman from Bangladesh have made into the final eleven which is as follows:

  1. Paul Stirling – Ireland
  2. Janemann Malan – South Africa
  3. Babar Azam © - Pakistan
  4. Fakhar Zaman – Pakistan
  5. R van der Dussen – South Africa
  6. Shakib Al Hasan – Bangladesh
  7. Mushfiqur Rahim (wk) – Bangladesh
  8. Wanindu Hasaranga – Sri Lanka
  9. Mustafizur Rahman – Bangladesh
  10. Simi Singh – Ireland
  11. Dushmantha Chameera – Sri Lanka

Many cricketing giants played more T20Is in 2021, according to their Future Tour program, for better preparation, as it was the year of the T20 World Cup. They also considered the fact that another T20 World Cup is looming in the horizon next year (2022). Thus, India, England, Australia and New Zealand played just 6, 9, 3 and 3 ODIs respectively.

On the other hand, teams like Bangladesh (12 matches), Sri Lanka (15 matches), South Africa (10 matches) and Ireland (14 matches) have played a considerable amount of matches compared to the other nations.

Correlating the numbers of ODIs played country-wise and the players selected in the Team of the year, it is quite evident that teams with a greater number of ODIs played had most of the representatives.

Amongst all the players from different countries, Bangladesh has the highest number of players with 3 followed by 2 each from Sri Lanka, South Africa, Ireland and Pakistan. 

Shakib Al Hasan

On his return to international cricket after the ban, Shakib Al Hasan continued with his class in the format. In 2021, the all-rounder scored 277 runs at an average of 39.57 and picked up 17 wickets in the 9 matches that he played.

Mushfiqur Rahim

His ever reliance with the bat for Bangladesh in the middle order earned Mushfiqur Rahim a well-deserved spot in the ODI team of the year. He too, like Shakib played 9 matches scoring 407 runs at a respectable average of 58.14 and was the sixth-highest run-scorer in ODIs in 2021.

Mustafizur Rahman

The left-arm seamer bagged 18 wickets in 10 matches at an average of 21.55 thanks to his clever variations in bowling making him the joint 3rd highest wicket-taker in 2021 alongside Nepal’s Sandeep Lamichhane.

Real picture

Although 3 Bangladeshi players in the team of the year is an unprecedented feat for Bangladesh, how satisfied can the fans be, taking the real picture into account?

6 out of the 12 ODIs that Bangladesh played last year were against a lower-ranked Zimbabwe side and a second-string West Indies side. Even against those weaker sides, it was eventually the seniors who won Bangladesh most of the matches.

A bulk of the youngsters are yet to make it big in international cricket as Bangladesh’s senior players enter the last phase of their careers. 

A similar scenario can be witnessed in the ICC T20 men’s team of the year where despite Bangladesh playing 27 T20Is last year, only Mustafizur Rahman found a spot.

How would the number of Bangladeshi players varied if bigger cricketing nations played more ODIs in 2021? Or if Bangladesh played against tougher oppositions?

If we want to consider this a success, then an obvious question arises - why is there only 1 player in the T20 team of the year whereas Bangladesh played the most number of games in that format last year?

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