Pakistan batsman Babar Azam, who was the ICC ODI Men’s Cricketer of the Year 2021 and 2022, didn’t find a place in the ICC Men’s ODI Team of the Year 2023.
The ICC announced their men’s ODI XI of the year 2023 on Tuesday. Rohit Sharma, who led India to 10 consecutive wins in the World Cup 2023, was named as the captain, while Pat Cummins, the World Cup-winning skipper, didn’t find a place in the XI.
The XI included six Indians: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, and Mohammed Shami; two Australians: Travis Head and Azam Zampa; two South Africans: Heinrich Klaasen and Marco Janse, and one New Zealander: Daryl Mitchell.
There was no Pakistani player in the XI. Babar Azam had ruled the numero uno ICC ODI ranking, and even though he regained it from Shubman Gill last month, the 29-year-old’s disappointing latter half of 2023 meant he wasn’t picked in the men’s ODI team of the year.
Babar Azam had a forgettable last dozen ODI games in 2023
In 25 ODIs in 2023, Babar Azam scored 1065 runs at an average of 46 with 2 centuries and 10 fifties. While these may seem good numbers, an in-depth assessment would reveal that Babar failed in the important games for Pakistan. His two centuries were against a second-string New Zealand bowling attack in Karachi and Nepal in Multan.
After his knock against Nepal in the Asia Cup, Babar’s form fell off shockingly. In his last 12 ODI innings, Babar managed only 376 runs at an average of 34 and a poor strike rate of 80, despite playing most of his games on good batting surfaces. He notched up four half-centuries but failed to convert any of them into a hundred.
Here’s how the fans reacted to Babar’s omission from the ICC men’s ODI team of the year 2023:
Leading the side, Babar Azam also failed to take Pakistan to the semi-finals of the World Cup 2023, in which he was underwhelming with the bat. His bat in batting form coupled with Pakistan’s failure to reach the Asia Cup final and World Cup semi-final led to his axing as the skipper.