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ESPNcricinfo Awards

Rishabh Pant, Shaheen Afridi, Kate Cross and Kane Williamson win ESPNcricinfo awards for 2021

England's Ollie Robinson named debutant of the year, Namibia win Associates honours

Jos Buttler, Ollie Robinson and Rishabh Pant were winners in the ESPNcricinfo Awards 2021  •  Visionhaus/Getty Images

Jos Buttler, Ollie Robinson and Rishabh Pant were winners in the ESPNcricinfo Awards 2021  •  Visionhaus/Getty Images

Rishabh Pant's 89 not out, which ended Australia's unbeaten reign at the Gabba, and Kyle Jamieson's 5 for 31, which helped crown New Zealand as the first World Test champions, have taken the Test batting and bowling honours in the 15th edition of the ESPNcricinfo Awards.
Pant's innings, in which he combined his characteristic boisterousness with patience, came on an epic final day as India chased down 329 to win the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2-1. He beat competition from another knock that came in a thrilling chase - Kyle Mayers' double-century on debut in Chattogram. Joe Root's 228 in Galle, his first big score in a year in which he made a record 1708 Test runs, was the other close contender.
Pant also happened to be one of Jamieson's five wickets in the first innings of the World Test Championship final, along with the big scalps of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. Jamieson, ESPNcricinfo's 2020 debutant of the year, helped dismiss the last seven Indian wickets for 68 runs. His closest rival for the Test bowling award was his team-mate and left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel, who became only the third bowler to get a Test ten-for, but in a massive defeat for New Zealand, in Mumbai.
The Captain of the Year award also went to New Zealand - Kane Williamson taking the honours for leading his side to the Test championship win and a runners-up place at the T20 World Cup, a first for New Zealand.
England men had a largely forgettable year, but they still managed to grab three gongs in the ESPNcricinfo Awards for 2021. Saqib Mahmood's 4 for 42 in a nine-wicket win over Pakistan in Cardiff took the ODI bowling title. Jos Buttler won the T20I batting award for his unbeaten 101 off 67 balls on a challenging surface in Sharjah against Sri Lanka at the T20 World Cup. His innings, which featured his slowest fifty in the format (45 balls), beat, among others, Matthew Wade's end-of-innings demolition of Pakistan.
England fast bowler Ollie Robinson was named Debutant of the Year for his 37 wickets at 21.16 in eight Tests.
The ODI batting and the T20I bowling awards went to Pakistan. Fakhar Zaman won for his blistering 155-ball 193 against South Africa at the Wanderers, the highest score in an ODI chase and the second highest ever in a losing cause. And Shaheen Afridi won the T20I bowling award for his annihilation of India at the T20 World Cup.
The jury for the awards included former players Daniel Vettori, Ian Bishop, Tom Moody, Ajit Agarkar, Lisa Sthalekar, Daryll Cullinan, Russel Arnold, Daren Ganga, Shahriar Nafees, Bazid Khan, Mark Nicholas, and ESPNcricinfo's senior editors and writers. They picked the best performances in the three men's international formats, and performances in women's and Associates cricket at large, in the previous calendar year.
It was a big year for India women, who played 22 games in 2021, but they were on the receiving end of the two award-winning performances in the women's categories: Australia opener Beth Mooney's unbeaten 125 in a dramatic final-ball win in an ODI in Mackay, and England fast bowler Kate Cross' 5 for 34 in a more assured five-wicket victory in Taunton.
The men's T20 World Cup gave the Associates who qualified a rare chance to step into the spotlight. Namibia, who beat Netherlands, Ireland and Scotland in the tournament, had five nominations across the Associate batting and bowling categories this year, and they won in both categories, for performances in the World Cup. Gerhard Erasmus, the team's captain, took the batting award for his unbeaten 53 in an eight-wicket win over Ireland. Left-arm fast bowler Ruben Trumpelmann, who struck three times in the first four balls against Scotland won the bowling award.