LAHORE: Star batsman Babar Azam expressed his delight over finding a place in the ICC ODI team for the second time in 2019, after earning the place in 2017, too.
On Wednesday, the ICC announced its 11-member ODI team in which Babar as lone Pakistani is also included for the terrific performances he produced last year.
“I will reserve my biggest gratitude to my team-mates and fans as without their support this would not have been possible,” said Babar in a press statement.
In the 2019 calendar year, Babar scored 1,092 runs in 20 ODIs at 60.66. He also scored three centuries and six half-centuries. His tons were against England at Trent Bridge (115), New Zealand at Edgbaston (101 not out) during ICC World Cup and Sri Lanka at National Stadium (115).
The 25-year-old last year featured in his first ICC World Cup and made the Pakistan record for the highest score in an edition by making 474 runs. He currently sits on the third spot in the ICC ODI player rankings.
Since the inception of the ICC awards in 2004, Babar is the eighth Pakistan player to feature in the ICC ODI Team of the Year. Other Pakistanis are Inzamam-ul-Haq, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan (both 2005), Umar Gul (2009 and 2011), Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal (both 2012), Saeed Ajmal (2013), Mohammad Hafeez (2014), Babar Azam and Hasan Ali (2017).
Babar further said: “I am thankful to the ICC and its jury for recognizing my achievements with the bat in 2019 and considering me worthy of a place in the side that includes some of my favourite cricketers who entertained the fans throughout the year with their outstanding performances.
“These acknowledgments serve as additional incentives to cricketers to perform even better and continue to play their important part in further globalizing this great sport.
“The year 2020 has started well for Pakistan cricket and we as a team look forward to building on it so that at the end of the year, there are more of us when the ICC announces the next set of winners same time next year.”