Babar Azam has won the ODI Cricketer of the Year award for 2022, becoming only the fourth batsman to do so for the second straight time after MS Dhoni, AB de Villiers, and Virat Kohli.
Pakistan’s captain had one of his best years in ODIs with the bat in 2022. In nine matches, he scored 50 runs or more in eight of them. He converted three of his fifties into centuries as Pakistan won all of their ODI series under his leadership last year.
His average across these matches was 84.87 and it was as if the bowlers couldn’t dismiss him. The composure, command, stroke-play, elegance, and game awareness he showed were second to none.
He has been the top-ranked ODI batsman since July 2021 and is not going to step down from there soon. Babar currently has 887 rating points and is 121 points ahead of the second-ranked Rassie van der Dussen.
It would require something extraordinary to happen for someone to replace Azam from the No. 1 spot.
People still doubt Babar Azam as a batsman but he keeps on giving a shut-up call to the critics.
Babar Azam ODI Stats in 2022
- Matches: 9
- Runs: 679
- Average: 84.87
- Strike-rate: 90.77
- Fifties: 5
- Hundreds: 3
His three centuries in 2022 came in a row, making him the only player ever to hit three consecutive centuries on two occasions. He first achieved the feat in 2016, and then six years later.
Two of his hundreds in 2022 came against Australia in the 2nd and 3rd ODI and one against West Indies in the first One-Dayer.
By far his best century of the year was in a chase of 349 against Australia in a must-win game. After losing the first One-Day of the series, Pakistan found themselves chasing 349 in the second.
Following a great opening stand of 118, it was Babar Azam who made a remarkable hundred on 73 balls to take his team closer to victory. After he was dismissed for 114(83), Khushdil Shah and Iftikhar Ahmed took the home side over the line.
We’ll see the 2022 ODI Cricketer of the Year in action again when New Zealand visits Pakistan for a 5-match ODI series in April-May 2023.