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News

Babar Azam captains ICC's T20I and ODI teams of the year

Williamson leads the men's Test side. Knight and Sciver captain the women's ODI and T20I teams

Babar Azam raises his bat after reaching his half-century, Pakistan vs West Indies, Pakistan vs West Indies, 3rd T20I, Karachi, December 16, 2021

Babar Azam finished 2021 men's T20 World Cup as the leading run-scorer  •  Asif Hassan/AFP via Getty Images

Following his stellar form in 2021, Pakistan's Babar Azam leads the ICC's teams of the year in both limited-overs formats.
The Test side, meanwhile, is comprised of a core of five players who were involved in the first ever Championship final - Kane Williamson, who led New Zealand to glory, Rohit Sharma, who top-scored for India on their tour of England, Rishabh Pant, who was the architect of the Brisbane miracle, R Ashwin, who dominated India's home season, and Kyle Jamieson, who was Player of the Match in the final.
Joe Root, who amassed 1708 Test runs in 2021, adds further weight to the batting line-up alongside the No. 1 ranked Marnus Labuschagne and one of the few top-performing openers in recent times, Dimuth Karunaratne.
In the women's category, Heather Knight captains the ODI team and her England team-mate Nat Sciver was put in charge of the T20I team.
Given 2021 was a T20 World Cup year, there wasn't a whole lot of ODI cricket played by many of the teams. Babar, for example, was picked off a sample size of six matches. He struck two centuries in this period though - 103 against South Africa and 158 against England.
His T20 form was even more eye-catching. Apart from finishing as the top scorer in the World Cup, he made 939 runs in 29 matches with one century and nine half-centuries. The men's T20 list has two more Pakistan players - opener Mohammad Rizwan, who made 1326 runs in 29 matches at a strike rate of 134.89 and fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi, who picked up 23 wickets in 21 matches at an economy of 7.86. Allrounder Mitchell Marsh, the hero of the T20 World Cup final, has been slotted in at No. 5.
Sri Lanka (15), Ireland (14) and Bangladesh (12) played the most number of ODIs in 2021 and their players dominate the XI. Paul Stirling, the top run-scorer in 50-overs cricket last year, opens the batting. Dushmantha Chameera, the top wicket-taker over the last 12 months, leads the bowling attack.
Five England players have been named in the women's T20I team of the year. That's Sciver, batters Tammy Beaumont and Danni Wyatt, wicketkeeper-batter Amy Jones and left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone. Ireland's Gaby Lewis, who became the first Ireland women's player to score a T20I century, also made the cut.
The experienced Sciver made an impact with her all-round performances, finishing the year with 153 T20I runs and 10 wickets at an average of 20.20. Smriti Mandhana, who made 255 runs at an average of 31.87, is the only Indian on the T20I list but there was better representation in the longer format with Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami both part of the XI. Lizelle Lee opens the ODI batting line-up after finishing as the top run-getter in 2021 with an average of 90.20.
Beaumont, and the South African pace pair of Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail are the only women to make the teams in both formats.