Euro 2020 Special

Steve Smith To Ben Stokes: Top Cricketers of 2022

With the year coming to a close, attention has now turned to the much anticipated ODI World Cup 2023 to be held in India.

Almost all teams had a mixed year on the field, with no one team dominating all the formats of the game in 2022. Ben Stokes’ England have claimed all the headlines in Test cricket with the aggressive ‘Bazball’ approach, while India continue to be the top-ranking T20 team despite crashing out of the T20 World Cup.

Australia also had a spectacular year despite the off-field drama, while the downfall of the West Indies and South Africa across all formats of the game continued.

As cricket enters a new year that will see three major tournaments, here are the top cricketers of 2022 across all formats of the game.


#5: Steve Smith

Australia’s former captain has shown grit, dedication, and commitment to slowly make his way back into the good books of fans since 2019.

While his on-field behaviour since the one-year ban for the ball-tampering scandal has shown a definitive improvement, a slump in form – especially in the longest format of the game has dragged him back for the last two years. In 2021 – Steve Smith did not score a single Test hundred, a format in which he once resembled the all-time great Don Bradman with his style of play.

But that changed in the second-half of this year with Steve Smith scoring a double-hundred against the West Indies to announce his arrival back on the scene. With a batting average of 60.58 after the Boxing Day Test against South Africa, he is miles ahead of any other batsman currently active.

In ODIs, Steve Smith has made his way back into the team as a starter once again, scoring a century against New Zealand and scoring 80* and 94 against England last month.

With his consistency with the bat and maturity on the field, Steve Smith is surely charting his path to lead the Australian team once again. And if and when he does, it will be a comeback story that truly will be remembered for ages to come.


#4: Sam Curran

The breakout star of the year, England’s Sam Curran had one of the best years any cricketer has ever had in recent history. The 24-year-old was instrumental for England in limited-overs cricket, helping them lift the T20 World Cup trophy – which made England the only team to be the champions in both ODI and T20 cricket at the same time.

He was the Player of the Tournament in the World Cup, taking 13 wickets at an average of 11.38, most of them in the death overs. With consistent execution, variations in balls and a tricky angle at which he bowls, Sam Curran has been deadly in the final overs – a skill that is crucial in the shortest format of the game.

The all-rounder’s talents were recognised when Team Punjab bought Sam Curran fora record ₹18.5 crores in the Indian T20 League mini-auction, making him the most expensive player in the history of the league.

With 67 runs and 25 wickets in 19 T20Is, Sam Curran is nominated for ICC’s Cricketer of the year in the format. He also made his way into England’s Test team with the all-rounder expected to play a key role in the Ashes next year.


#3: Surya Kumar Yadav

Surya Kumar Yadav had a brilliant year in the T20s, becoming the second batsman to score more than 1000 runs in a calendar year in the shortest format of the game.

With 1164 runs at a record strike rate of 187.43, Surya Kumar Yadav has been the key to India’s dominance in T20s throughout the year. He scored two hundreds and nine half-centuries in 31 innings, finishing the year with an average of 46.56.

The 32-year-old has been so prolific in the shortest format of the game this year that he enters the list despite not being a part of India’s Test or ODI squads. He is currently the frontrunner to win the ICC Men’s T20 Cricketer of the Year award, climbing to the top of the T20 batsman rankings.

After more than a decade’s wait to enter the Indian team, Surya Kumar Yadav has slowly become the core batsman of the team, especially with India deciding to phase out seniors from the squad. 2023 is likely to witness more of the star batsman’s incredible performances.


#2: Babar Azam

Babar Azam has led Pakistan from the front in all formats of the game, converting an outcast team into one of the most feared teams in the world.

Despite their recent 3-0 loss to England in the Test series, Pakistan continue to improve on the field. Much of that success is thanks to Babar Azam’s captaincy, but also to the 29-year-old’s performance with the bat. Pakistan won all three of their bilateral series in One Day Internationals this year, losing just one game overall.

With more than 2500 runs across all formats during the calendar year, Babar Azam tops the runs chart well ahead of any other player.

Babar Azam has scored 679 runs in One Day Internationals alonewith a prolific average of 84.87 in nine innings. He has been at the top of the ODI batsmen rankings since 2021 and is the frontrunner to win the Player of the Year in the format.

While Pakistan’s failure in international tournaments continues to haunt the skipper, his best years with the Men in Green are yet to come.


#1: Ben Stokes

Entering 2022, England’s approach to cricket looked broken. The launch of The Hundred, excessive emphasis on white-ball cricket and neglect of county cricket have all taken a toll on England’s Test side – so much that when England lost the prestigious Ashes series 4-0, barely anyone was shocked.

England’s Cricket board finally decided to take action, putting Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes in charge of the team – a decision that would change the course of Test cricket itself.

With the ‘Bazball’ approach, England have breathed life into a dying format – making Test cricket watchable once again. The first Test against Pakistan this month saw one of the finest weeks of captaincy by any player in the history of Cricket with England clinching a win on the flat road of a pitch at Rawalpindi by risking a loss.

Ben Stokes has been the torchbearer for English cricket for the past few years, winning the ODI World Cup for the team in 2019.

But after a gap in 2021, Ben Stokes looks much more mature on the ground, deciding to focus on his captaincy duties in Tests. He has been prolific in T20Is with a memorable performance in the T20 World Cup final that gave the team its second World Cup in four years.

With a decision to retire from One Day Internationals, Ben Stokes now has his priorities clear – make England one of the best teams in Test cricket once again before the Ashes in the summer. While other players have performed with the bat and the ball, Ben Stokes makes it to the top of the list with his superb leadership of the English team.




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