Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Tuesday found a place in the ICC’s list of four players for ICC men’s Test player of the year. Besides Ashwin, England captain Joe Root, New Zealand pacer Kyle Jamieson and Sri Lankan Test skipper Dimuth Karunaratne were also nominated for the prestigious award. “A batting stalwart, a spin wizard, an emerging fast-bowling superstar and a dogged opener”. This is how the ICC identified the four contenders for ICC Men’s Test Player of the Year. The winner of the award will be announced on January 24.
“One of India’s greatest match-winners in the longest format, R Ashwin once again asserted his authority as one of the world’s finest spinners in 2021.”The ICC said in a release.
Apart from his sorcery with the ball, Ashwin made a useful contribution with the bat as well. The 35-year-old from Chennai has scored 52 wickets in eight Tests in the period under consideration for the awards at an average of 16.23, besides scoring 337 runs at 28.08 with the help of a century.
Ashwin’s 2021 recap
Ashwin started the year on a high with a patient yet determined and gritty innings of 29 off 128 balls against Australia in the Sydney Test. Thanks to his partnership with Hanuma Vihari, India was able to pull out a memorable draw and kept the series squared at 1-1.
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Ashwin was further adjudged the player of the series for his exploits against England at home. He was in full flight as he contributed 189 runs with the bat in addition to taking 32 wickets in four matches at an average of 14.72.
The off-spinner also picked up four wickets against New Zealand in the ICC World Test Championship final. Notably, Southampton is a pace-friendly pitch.
Ash had a frustrating tour of England as he had to sit out of the playing XI in all four Tests in England. However, Ashwin once again shone on home soil against New Zealand. He took 14 wickets in two matches at an average of 11.36 and a couple of handy knocks with the bat in the Kanpur Test. He was adjudged Player of the series for his brilliance.
Other nominees for the Men’s Test player of the Year Award
Joe Root (England)
England’s Test skipper Joe Root is also nominated for the award. Root has been in sublime form all this year scoring 1,708 runs in 15 matches with six centuries in 2021. The magnitude of Joe Root’s sublime form in the year 2021 can be summed up by one simple stat that he became only the third player in history to aggregate over 1,700 runs in Test cricket in a calendar year. Only Mohammad Yousuf and Sir Vivian Richards stand ahead of him. However, no support from the other end means England equalled the record for most test losses in a calendar year.
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Kyle Jamieson (New Zealand)
New Zealand’s Kyle Jamieson is the other nominee for the prestigious award. He scalped 27 wickets in 5 matches at 17.51. Another brilliant addition to the Kiwi pace battery, 2021 was the year where Kyle Jamieson emerged as one of the most promising fast bowling prospects in world cricket. In what was a seminal year for New Zealand, Jamieson was the X-factor of their pace attack. New Zealand emerged as the inaugural ICC World Test Championship winner. He brilliantly supplanted and often surpassed the exploits of Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner. Jamieson was the star performer in Southampton, scalping seven wickets. He also contributed a handy 21 runs in the first innings. He won the Player of the Match award for his outing.
Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka)
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The last nominee is the Sri Lankan Test skipper and opener Dimuth Karunaratne. Who scored 902 runs in 7 matches at 69.38 with 4 centuries. A magnificent century in Johannesburg against South Africa. Two centuries against Bangladesh in two matches in Pallekele, including a double ton. And a brilliant century against West Indies in Galle. These were some of the highlights from yet another stunning year for Karunaratne.