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Babar Azam named captain of official ICC Team of the Tournament

Babar Azam will lead the Official ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Most Valuable Team of the Tournament. Source: Cricinfo.

DUBAI: Pakistani captain Babar Azam has been picked to lead players from six teams named in the Official ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Most Valuable Team of the Tournament.

Players from champions Australia, runners-up New Zealand, England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa feature in the team selected on the basis of performances in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021. The stars from champions Australia, runners-up New Zealand, semi-finalists England and Pakistan as well as Sri Lanka and South Africa feature in the star-studded lineup. However, no Indian players has been included after the team underwhelmed at the tournament. 

Opening batter David Warner, leg-spinner Adam Zampa and seamer Josh Hazlewood all make the cut for Australia after helping steer their side to their first ever ICC Men’s T20 World Cup title. England ace Jos Buttler as wicketkeeper, New Zealand left-armer Trent Boult and Sri Lanka star Wanindu Hasaranga, the tournament’s leading wicket-taker, has also been included.

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam was the only batter to break the 300-run barrier throughout the duration of the competition. His 68 not out against old rivals India powered Pakistan to a memorable 10-wicket victory, while three further half-centuries in the Super 12 stages helped book his team’s slot in the semi-final against Australia. While Pakistan was unable to battle past Aaron Finch’s outfit, Babar helped himself to 39 in the first innings to finish his campaign in a typically consistent fashion.

The team of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 (in batting order) is:

  • David Warner (Australia)
  • Jos Buttler (wk) (England)
  • Babar Azam (Captain, Pakistan)
  • Charith Asalanka (Sri Lanka)
  • Aiden Markram (South Africa)
  • Moeen Ali (England)
  • Wanindu Hasaranga (Sri Lanka)
  • Adam Zampa (Australia)
  • Josh Hazlewood (Australia)
  • Trent Boult (New Zealand)
  • Anrich Nortje (South Africa)
  • 12th: Shaheen Afridi (Pakaistan)

Warner came into the tournament in uncharacteristically patchy form but laid those demons to rest in style with a power-packed set of performances. The left-handed Australian opener racked up a tally of 289 runs – the second most of the tournament – at a healthy average of 48.16 to help propel his team to victory in Sunday’s Dubai final.

Warner struck 65 against Sri Lanka in the Super 12 stages, before a breath-taking 89 not out against the West Indies and then 49 against Pakistan in the semi-finals placed his team on the cusp of global glory. His 53 in the final provided the perfect support act for Mitchell Marsh – 77 not out – as Australia chased down a total of 173 to clinch their maiden ICC Men’s T20 World Cup crown.

England star Buttler was in similarly blistering form throughout, scoring just 20 runs fewer than Warner at a brilliant average of almost 90. He cracked a perfectly-paced century against Sri Lanka off just 67 balls, while his brutal knock of 71 not out against Australia helped fire England to an emphatic eight-wicket victory against the eventual champions.

Sri Lankan Asalanka slots in at No.4 after his match-winning innings against Bangladesh in the Super 12s. South African Markram and England all-rounder Moeen occupy the No.5 and 6 positions, with Markram’s quickfire 52 not out against England helping down Eoin Morgan’s team in Sharjah.

Completing the middle order is another Sri Lankan in the form of Hasaranga, who stands tall as the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with a stunning 16 from his eight matches. The skillful leg-spinner bagged a brilliant hat-trick and emerged as the most prolific bowler of the tournament.

Australian pairing Zampa and Hazlewood line up at No.8 and 9, with fellow leg-spinner Zampa lying closely behind Hasaranga in the tournament’s leading wicket-takers. Conceding an average of his 5.81 runs an over, the Australian ace removed 13 victims across his seven matches – including a memorable five-wicket haul against Bangladesh in the Super 12s.

His teammate Hazlewood followed in his footsteps with a record-equalling three for 16 against the Black Caps. Hazlewood dismissed Kane Williamson, Daryl Mitchell and Glenn Phillips in Dubai and his figures represented the joint-best of any seamer in an ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Final alongside Indian Irfan Pathan in the 2007 showpiece.

Rounding off the side at No.10 and 11 are fellow pace bowlers Trent Boult and Anrich Nortje, who both took 13 and nine wickets respectively for New Zealand and South Africa.   Taking his place as 12th man is Pakistan prodigy Shaheen Afridi, who started his tournament in style with a blistering new ball spell against arch-rival India.

Afridi, 21, removed the talismanic top three trio of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and captain Virat Kohli to end with figures of three for 31 and lay the foundations for a memorable victory. The left-arm pacer finished the tournament with seven wickets at 24.14 and will no doubt continue to star at multiple more ICC World Cup events throughout an exciting future career.