Sikandar Raza one of four nominated by ICC for Sir Garfield Sobers Player of the Year Trophy 2022

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The ICC has named Babar Azam, Tim Southee, Ben Stokes and Sikander Raza as their four nominees for the player of the year award for 2022 named the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy. The awarding of the honour depends on the performances throughout the year and the memorable displays they had.

The International Cricket Council on Friday revealed the four nominees for its yearly player of the award which is named in honour of Sir Garfield Sobers. Babar Azam, Tim Southee, Ben Stokes, and Sikandar Raza made it to the list amidst fierce competition in the year that featured the ICC World T20 as its headline event.

Babar Azam led Pakistan to the final of the marquee tournament while racking up runs across the formats for the Men in Green as well. He ended the year as the world's top-ranked batter by a long margin, alongside holding the second spot in Tests and fourth spot in the game's shortest format. His 2,598 runs in 44 matches came at an average of 54 with his notable performances including a valiant 196 against Australia to clinch a draw at home and a 200-run plus opening partnership with Mohammad Rizwan to secure a 10-wicket victory against England in the seven-match T20I-series.

Ben Stokes, meanwhile, ascended to the captain's throne in Test cricket in 2022 and alongside Brendon McCullum led a red-ball revolution. Labelled 'Bazball', Ben Stokes took a team with one win in the last 17 games to nine wins in 10 encounters, including victories against the two World Test Championship finalists India and New Zealand as well as South Africa. His 1,066 and 33 wickets in 28 matches came at the most crucial of moments, be it a match-winning 52* in the World T20 final or a blistering 75 in the fourth innings against New Zealand to chase down 299 on the final day.

Tim Southee continued to dominate in the T20 format while spearheading his team in the other two formats of the game as well. The 65 wickets in 31 matches saw 28 come in Tests alone even as the side wilted to defeats against the likes of Bangladesh and England. His most impactful performance came in the World T20 opener against defending champions and bitter Australia in their own backyard. Southee's riveting swing and seam bowling saw him return with figures of 3/6, decimating the opposition's batting order and earning a huge milestone victory for the Black Caps. He ended up with an economy of 6.57 in the tournament.

Perhaps the most surprising nominee is Sikandar Raza, given few players from outside the top eight are able to scale the heights the all-rounder has in 2022 at the age of 37. The veteran burst to life in ODIs, with two centuries against Bangladesh and one against the formidable India team, ending up with an astonishing 1,380 runs and 33 wickets in 39 matches across formats in the calendar year.  To add to it, he was one of the standout players at the World T20 be it with the bat or the ball. Ending with an economy of 6.13 and a strike rate of 150-plus in T20Is in 2022, Raza's memorable spell worth three wickets in the death against Pakistan earned his side a famous win while defending a low total of 131.

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