Emerging cricketers of the year: Janneman Malan and Fatima Sana

South Africa

As part of the 2021 edition of the ICC Awards, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced Janneman Malan of South Africa and Fatima Sana of Pakistan as the Emerging Cricketers of the Year 2021 across men’s and women’s international cricket respectively.

The ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year in men’s and women’s international cricket is awarded to the best overall performer who is under the age of 26 and has played a maximum of 5 Tests, 10 ODIs and 5 T20Is prior to the performance period which is between 1 January and 31 December 2021.

South Africa’s Malan played a total of eight ODIs and nine T20Is in the year, but it was the one-day format where he showed his real potential.

He started the year with the T20I series in Pakistan, followed by another ODI and T20I series against the same side at home. At the end of those two series, he had already shown the world his ability with two excellent knocks of 70 and 55 in Centurion.

But his moment of fame arrived when he smashed an unbeaten 177, which was also the fourth highest score by a South African in ODIs, against Ireland in Dublin.

He followed that up with another excellent knock of 121 against Sri Lanka in Colombo and thus ended the year on a good note.

Commenting on receiving the honour Janneman Malan, said: “It is a privilege to be named the ICC Men’s Emerging Cricketer of the Year. I would like to thank my family, my support system, and my team for the opportunity. My favourite innings of the year came in Sri Lanka where I had to bat the full fifty overs, whilst I was cramping. It was personally a big innings for me to keep batting and fight through the pain and be in a position to help my team win the game.”

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In the women’s category, twenty-year-old Pakistani pacer Fatima Sana had an impressive 2021 as well. She became an integral part of Pakistan’s ODI and T20I side owing to her all-round performance.

Apart from playing at home, Sana also toured Bangladesh, West Indies, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, and delivered impressive all-round performances everywhere. 18 of her 24 wickets in the year came in the 11 matches she played against the West Indies. As a low order batter, batting at No.8, she also registered impressive scores of 28*, 22* and 17* against strong sides like West Indies, South Africa, and Zimbabwe respectively.

Commenting on her award Fatima Sana said: “I am delighted to receive this award. As a youngster, it is a big boost to receive such a recognition at the start of my international career for which I am thankful to the PCB, my teammates, and the ICC. I feel lucky that I have found such good support from the senior players and my coaches, their confidence and backing has remained invaluable for me throughout the year and has been one of the reasons for my successes.

“After winning the PCB Women’s Emerging Cricketer of the Year award in 2020, the ICC Award has given me a huge lift and I look forward to serving my team to the best of my abilities this year, especially since this is an ICC Women’s World Cup year.

“We are work really hard in the ongoing camp in Karachi and I remain motivated to do well in the New Zealand tournament and hope to finish as one of the top players while helping my side in the winning moments.”