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Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan win big at PCB Awards 2020
PCB Awards

Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan win big at PCB Awards 2020

Pakistan's all-format captain Babar Azam was declared the Most Valuable Cricketer of the Year at the annual PCB Awards recognizing the top performances over the past year.

Babar has been consistently fronting Pakistan's batting as he has continued to excel in all three forms of the game over a long duration of time.

The 26-year-old was also given the White-ball Cricketer of the Year award for maintaining an astonishing average of 67.6 and 55.2 in ODIs and T20Is respectively in the last 12 months.

He also amassed 338 runs in the four Tests he played, though he is yet to captain Pakistan's red-ball side after suffering a thumb fracture that ruled him out of the series opener against New Zealand.

“I am truly humbled to have been awarded the White-ball and Most Valuable Cricketer of the Year awards by the independent jury in what has been a difficult year for all professional athletes," said Babar reacting to the honour.

"Without the support of my teammates and family, this would not have been possible and, as such, I owe big time to all of them for my successes in 2020 and hope they will continue to support me in years to come."

Mohammad Rizwan, who replaced Sarfaraz Ahmed as the team's first-choice wicketkeeper in November 2019, was named Test Cricketer of the Year for a spate of gritty knocks in the traditional format.

Rizwan aggregated 302 runs in five games with four half-centuries at an average of 43.14. Two of his fifties came last week against New Zealand in Mount Maunganui, where he captained the team in the absence of the injured Babar.

“I particularly enjoyed my performances in England as these came in difficult situations and against some of the finest exponents of the red cricket ball. I am delighted that I was able to carry the confidence I got by performing in England by scoring two half-centuries in the series," commented Rizwan.

Fawad Alam celebrated his long-awaited comeback to the Test team with a fighting century against New Zealand in his third match since the return.

Fawad's outstanding 269-ball 102, which brought Pakistan so close to a draw, was chosen as the Individual Performance of the Year.

"This reward is recognition of my continued hard work and efforts, and will only contribute to further enhancing my confidence. Nothing comes easy in life, all one can do is to keeping work hard, staying focused on the targets and wait for the opportunity," said Fawad.

Naseem Shah bagged the Emerging International Cricketer of the Year for 20 wickets in eight Tests, including the record hat-trick against Bangladesh in Rawalpindi that made him the youngest bowler to achieve the amazing feat.

Rising sensation Rohail Nazir was bestowed with the Emerging Cricketer of the Year award for finishing with 1,260 runs and 48 victims behind the stumps in the period between September 2019 and December 2020.

The Domestic Cricketer of the Year prize went to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Kamran Ghulam, who is averaging just under 60 in the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. Ghulam's team is currently engaged in the tournament's final against Central Punjab as he hit another half-century on the opening day of the clash.

In the Women's categories, Aliya Riaz was adjudged the cricketer of the year while Fatima Sana was picked as the emerging cricketer of the year.

The digital ceremony for the awards was streamed by the PCB on social media platforms on Friday. All winners will be presented with specially designed trophies in the home series against South Africa scheduled to begin on January 26.