Babar Azam and Ben Stokes
Babar Azam and Ben Stokes Image Credit: Reuters/AFP

Dubai: There were match-winning knocks, spell-binding stroke-play and memorable moments from a personal perspective and his team in 2022 as Pakistan skipper Babar Azam claimed the ICC Men's ODI Cricketer of the Year Award for second consecutive year.

If you thought the Pakistan skipper had a year to remember in ODI cricket in 2021, then what he produced during 2022 was even better as the ultra-consistent right-hander maintained his lead as the No 1 ranked batter on the ICC Men's ODI Player Rankings.

It's a title that Babar has held firmly onto since July 2021 and in its current form, has no intention of letting go easily.

Pakistan's captain Babar Azam
Babar Azam

It might be surprising to note that Babar only played nine ODI matches in 2022, but the 28-year-old made them count as he smashed three centuries, a further five half-centuries and only really failed with the bat on one occasion.

And it wasn't just from an individual level that Babar thrived, with the Pakistan captain also leading his team with aplomb and to just one loss throughout the year.

Pakistan's sole loss in 50-over cricket last year came against Australia in Lahore and on stats alone, it was evident that Babar was an easy selection to win the coveted ICC Men's ODI Player of the Year award in 2022.

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England's Stokes named Test Cricketer of 2022

Ben Stokes defined the year of Test cricket more than any other through superb performances in 2022 and is the clear and deserving winner of the ICC Men's Test Cricketer of the Year award.

On the basis of his numbers alone, England's talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes had an excellent year in the whites of international Test cricket.

But sometimes the game is about more than just numbers, and in 2022 Stokes and new England head coach Brendon McCullum completely transformed the form, fortunes and style of the England Men's Test team.

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Ben Stokes

Players and teams have played highly attacking cricket before. But Stokes has delivered a new level for his consistent commitment to England's entertaining and aggressive approaches with the bat, ball and in the field.

Since taking over as England captain, Stokes has led the team to nine wins from 10 Tests, completing series victories over New Zealand and South Africa at home, beating India in the one-off postponed Test to level the series at 2-2 and hammering Pakistan 3-0 away from home - England's best ever margin of victory in the country.

Prior to his appointment as captain, England had been beaten in each of their four most recent completed series and had won just one of their previous 17 Tests.

As a captain Stokes was hugely impressive, setting clever traps with his fields and utilising his bowlers brilliantly throughout the year. He was also fair but decisive with his selection decisions, bringing in new faces when required but not afraid to leave out form players if the conditions merit it.

With the bat Stokes enjoyed a strong 2022, scoring 870 runs at an average of 36.25 and an aggressive strike rate of 71.21, notching up two centuries.

While his overall numbers with the ball for 2022 don't jump out as exceptional (26 wickets at 31.19), Stokes deployed himself in a number of different tactical roles throughout the year, prioritising impact and team balance over his individual statistics.

Team records tumbled under Stokes' captaincy. And it was with the bat that the records were most eye-catching.

England's scoring rate of 4.13 across 15 Tests in 2022 was the second highest in history and the most since Australia in 1910. Those stats include the away defeat to West Indies and the end of the Ashes loss under Joe Root. In the matches in which Stokes led England, the team struck at a game-changing 4.77 per over.

Stokes was earlier this week named as the captain of the ICC Men's Test eleven for 2022.

He was joined in the select eleven by his fellow ICC Test Cricketer of the Year Award nominees - his compatriot Jonny Bairstow, Australia's Usman Khawaja and South African bowler Kagiso Rabada.