ESPNcricinfo Awards: Rishabh Pant wins ‘Test Batting Award’, Kane Williamson gets Captain of Year

New Delhi: India’s prolific wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant won top ‘Test batting’ prize for his 89 not out, which shattered Australia’s unbeaten record at Gabba and helped India win the Border Gavaskar Trophy last year while New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson was adjudged ‘Captain of the Year’ at the 15th Annual ESPNcricinfo awards.

The Test bowling award went to Kyle Jamieson for his 5 for 31, which helped New Zealand become the first World Test champions.

Pant steered India to an unlikely victory in the dying moments of play in the last Test, taking them to a 2-1 series win that few would have predicted when India went into the match with a third-string side in the wake of numerous injuries to their first-choice players.

The Captain of the Year award also went to New Zealand. Kane Williamson, who was up against Virat Kohli, Babar Azam and Aaron Finch for the title, won for leading his side to the Test championship win and a runners-up place at the T20 World Cup.

England fast bowler Ollie Robinson was named Debutant of the year for his 37 wickets at 21.16 in eight Tests, which made him England’s second highest wicket-taker in Tests in 2021.

England’s men’s team had a largely forgettable year, but they managed to grab three awards. Saqib Mahmood’s 4 for 42 in a nine wicket win over Pakistan 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 beat, among others, Matthew Wade’s end-of-innings demolition of Pakistan.

The ODI batting and T20I bowling awards went to Pakistan. Fakhar Zaman won for his 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 in a ten-wicket win for Pakistan 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 and Mark Nicholas, as well as ESPNcricinfo’s senior editors and writers. The jury 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 the India women’s team, who played 22 games in 2021, but 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 win in Taunton.

The men’s T20 World Cup gave the Associate teams 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, 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.

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