Rizwan snubbed as Babar the only Pakistani to make T20 World Cup team of the tournament

Published November 15, 2021
Babar Azam plays a shot during the T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai on October 24, 2021. — AFP
Babar Azam plays a shot during the T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai on October 24, 2021. — AFP

Babar Azam was the only Pakistan player in the Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 team of the tournament named by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday as Mohammad Rizwan missed out despite finishing as the third-highest runs maker and scoring at an average of 70.25 runs per innings.

The closest any other Pakistan cricketer came to making to eleven was Shaheen Afridi, who was named the 12th man.

"After 45 matches and countless incredible performances, the Most Valuable Team of the Tournament has been selected," said the ICC in a statement, a day after Australia clinched the title by beating New Zealand in the final.

Players from six teams — Australia, runners-up New Zealand, semi-finalists Pakistan and England as well as Sri Lanka and South Africa — have been named in the T20 World Cup Most Valuable Team of the Tournament. However, No Indian team player was included in the team.

Warner included, Rizwan left out

The team of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 is:

1- David Warner (Australia) — 289 runs at 48.16 2- Jos Buttler (WK) (England) — 269 runs at 89.66 3- Babar Azam (Captain) (Pakistan) — 303 runs at 60.60 4- Charith Asalanka (Sri Lanka) — 231 runs at 46.20 5- Aiden Markram (South Africa) — 162 runs at 54.00 6- Moeen Ali (England) — 92 runs at strike rate of 131.42, seven wickets at 11 7- Wanindu Hasaranga (Sri Lanka) — 16 wickets at 9.75 8- Adam Zampa (Australia) — 13 wickets at 12.07 9- Josh Hazlewood (Australia) — 11 wickets at 15.90 10- Trent Boult (New Zealand) — 13 wickets at 13.30 11- Anrich Nortje (South Africa) — Nine wickets at 11.55

12th- Shaheen Shah Afridi — seven wickets at 24.14

The selection panel comprised commentators Ian Bishop, Natalie Germanos and Shane Watson along with a couple of journalists.

"As with any team selection there will be varying opinions, and robust discussion on the final composition of the squad," Bishop said. "The panel respects that, and we encourage the strong debate that will ensue.

"This team was incredibly difficult to select over such a highly competitive tournament." He underlined that the selections were based predominantly on the Super 12 onward to the final.

"As a panel we felt that the combination of runs plus strike rate plus match impact for batsmen, to be decisive factors. We endeavoured to select players as close to their initial team position where possible. This intention was not always a reality, as some compromises had to be made."

Bishop revealed that the top three in the order were so outstanding that "we could not leave any of them out.

Notable absentees include Mohammed Rizwan who was simply outstanding and courageous in his performance. However, we could not fit him into the team too far outside of the opening position where he is most suited and successful, nor ahead of those selected."

He further elucidated that the panel also saw the impressive young talent of Charith Asalanka and Aiden Markram as a real bonus for the team and their countries in this tournament.

"Moeen Ali was selected as that utility all-rounder who could be applied with the bat to various match situations and innings requirements. He also offered a more than substantial bowling option."

'Panel was impressed with Shaheen Shah Afridi'

For selection of bowlers, Bishop said three seamers who excelled [in the tournament] and two "outstanding" leg spinners Hasaranga and Zampa were picked for the team.

"The panel was impressed with Shaheen Shah Afridi’s bowling at 21 years of age and we felt compelled to institute him as the optional player in the 12-player squad," he added.

"As for the player of the tournament; any of Babar Azam, Jos Butler and Adam Zampa would make a compelling case. In the end, David Warner’s impact over the tournament and into the knockout stage just swayed the panel in his favour," explained the panelist.

West Indies player Sherfane Rutherford said he was "shocked" that Azam had not been selected as the player of the tournament, calling it a "tired decision".

'For Babar, numbers speak for themselves'

Justifying selection of Babar Azam to lead the T20 team of the tournament, the ICC said Azam's numbers spoke for themselves: 303 runs, an average of 60.60, four half-centuries in six matches.

"Babar Azam’s T20 World Cup performance was remarkable. The fact that it was the Pakistan skipper’s first ever T20 World Cup appearance makes his numbers even more astonishing, and he is comfortably the highest run-scorer at a debut World Cup in the history of the competition, beating Pakistan batting consultant Matthew Hayden’s previous record."

It said Babar also drew level with another record held joining by Hayden and Virat Kohli, with his four fifties at a single World Cup equalling the all-time best.

The 27-year-old underlined just why he is top of the ICC T20I rankings with the bat, and he has many years and many tournaments ahead of him to set more records, according to the ICC.

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