Raza up for ICC top gong

Sikandar Raza

ZIMBABWE’S cricket superstar Sikandar Raza could cap a memorable year with another piece of silverware after he made the shortlist for the International Cricket Council (ICC) T-20 Cricketer of the Year award.

Raza has already been nominated for Wisden’s own award for the same version of the game.

Raza comes up against England’s Sam Curran, India’s Suryakumar Yadav as well as Mohammad Rizwan of Pakistan.

Raza, who helped propel Zimbabwe to the T 20 World Cup final tournament after winning a qualifying tournament that was played in Bulawayo, scored 735 runs and picked 25 wickets in 24 matches.

He had a stellar year with the bat and also contributed significantly with the ball in T20Is.

A remarkable showing in the T20 World Cup in Australia capped off a memorable year for the all-rounder.

With 735 runs in the year at a strike-rate of over 150, Raza scored more than 250 runs over the next best Zimbabwe batter in T20Is.

He also led the wickets chart for the Chevrons, taking 25 wickets at an excellent economy rate of 6.13.

His standout performance came in a game where he made little contribution with the bat.

He played a massive role in Zimbabwe’s win over Pakistan in the T20 World Cup, taking 3/25 with the ball before inflicting the run out off the final ball to give Zimbabwe the one-run victory.

His exploits also saw him get snapped up by Punjab Kings for the 2023 Indian Premier League, where he will follow up in the footsteps of Tatenda Taibu, Raymond Price and Brendan Taylor, who also played in the lucrative league.

Curran, born in Zimbabwe to former national team coach Kevin, scored 67 runs and 25 wickets in 19 matches to put himself in contention.

He was named the Player of the Tournament at the 2022 T20 World Cup.

He finished the World Cup with 13 wickets to his name, second only to Wanindu Hasaranga of Sri Lanka.

Rizwan made 996 runs, nine catches and three stumpings in 25 matches

The wicket-keeper batter amassed 996 runs in the year, continuing on from his record-breaking year in T20Is in 2021.

Only Suryakumar Yadav made more runs in the year in men’s T20Is.

Rizwan hit 10 half-centuries in the year in T20Is, and finished with 175 runs in the T20 World Cup, the joint-most by a Pakistan batter, averaging 45.27 in T20Is in 2022.

Yadav breached the 1 000 runs mark to finish the year with 1 164 runs in 31 matches

He became only the second batter to score more than 1 000 runs in a year in the format, which he achieved at a strike-rate of 187.43

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