Two brilliant wicketkeeper-batters and two all-rounders constitute the ICC’s nominees for the 2021 ICC Men’s T20I Player of the Year awards.
Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan, England’s Jos Buttler and Australia’s Mitchell Marsh are the other nominees for the coveted award this year.
Sri Lankan all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga has picked up a total of 36 wickets in 20 matches at 11.63 this year while he has also scored 196 runs with one half-century.
2021 was a breakthrough year for Hasaranga, who established himself as one of the best spinners in the shortest format while also being a player who could contribute with the bat. A consistent performer throughout the year, Hasaranga’s star shone the brightest during the T20 World Cup in UAE and Oman.
He ended the tournament as the leading wicket-taker with 16 scalps and also played some handy knocks with the bat, like his 71 against Ireland. He was a constant menace for the opposition as Sri Lanka impressed one and all during the tournament with their young and energetic side.
Still only 24, Hasaranga is expected to become a cornerstone of Sri Lankan cricket, especially in the shortest formats of the game.
In a pressure encounter in Sharjah against South Africa, Hasaranga almost single-handedly helped his side claw back into the contest with his brilliance with the ball.
Claiming a memorable hat-trick, he took the big scalps of Aiden Markram (19) and Temba Bavuma (46) before dismissing Dwaine Pretorius to complete his hat-trick.
Hasaranga would end up with figures of 3/20 in his four-over spell, and it was only the power-hitting of David Miller at the death that got the Proteas over the line.