On Thursday, 29 December, India batter Suryakumar Yadav was unveiled as one of the four nominees for the ICC Men's T20I cricketer of the year 2022 award.
Apart from him, England's left-arm pace all-rounder Sam Curran, Zimbabwe's off-spin all-rounder Sikandar Raza and Pakistan's wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan have been nominated for the honour too.
Suryakumar had a sensational 2022 in the shortest format of the game, becoming just the second batter to score more than 1000 runs in a year in the format with his 360-degree strokeplay. He ended the year as the highest run-getter, scoring 1164 runs at a ridiculous strike rate of 187.43, averaging 46.56.
Suryakumar's tally of 68 sixes in 2022 is the highest anyone has hit in the format in a year by a fair distance. With two hundred and nine half-centuries in the year, he was undoubtedly the standout men's T20I batter.
Suryakumar had lit up the Men's T20 World Cup in Australia, slamming 239 runs at an outstanding average of 59.75 and a whopping strike rate of 189.68, including match-tempo changing fifties against South Africa, Zimbabwe and Netherlands.
In the second T20I against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui, he hit 11 fours and seven sixes all over the park at a strike rate of 217.65 to be unbeaten on 111 off 51 balls, his second T20I century.
But it was his first T20I century against England at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, 117 off 55 balls, which caught the eye of cricket fans. From 31/3 in a run chase of 216, Suryakumar lifted India with his outrageous stroke-making, giving the visitors a chance at chasing down the target. Suryakumar put the team within touching distance of what would have been an incredible win.
Zimbabwe's Raza had a stellar year with the bat and also contributed significantly with the ball in T20Is. A remarkable showing in the T20 World Cup in Australia capped off a memorable year for the Zimbabwe all-rounder.
He made 735 runs in the year at a strike rate of over 150 and took 25 wickets at an excellent economy rate of 6.13. His standout performance came in Zimbabwe's surprise win over Pakistan in the T20 World Cup, taking 3/25 with the ball before inflicting the run out on the final ball to give Zimbabwe a heart-stopping one-run victory.
Curran, Rizwan Also Strong Candidates for the Award
Curran was the Player of the Tournament at the 2022 T20 World Cup. The tournament saw his bowling stocks in T20s rose in the year with his death bowling, in particular, earning plaudits. With England missing key fast bowlers, Curran stepped up admirably to finish the World Cup with 13 wickets to his name, second only to Sri Lanka's Wanindu Hasaranga.
His best figures of 5-10 against Afghanistan in the tournament was the first time any England bowler took a five-wicket haul in men's T20Is. The left-arm quick made up for missing the 2021 edition of the tournament through back injury by taking a three-wicket haul in the final, proving to be crucial in England winning their second T20 World Cup title.
In the final against Pakistan at Melbourne, Curran conceded just 12 runs in his four overs while taking three wickets. He was also the Player of the Final for his 3/12, with his victims being Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood and Mohammad Nawaz as Pakistan put up just 137 runs on board, a total that England overcame with an over to spare.
Rizwan amassed 996 runs in the year, continuing on from his record-breaking year in T20Is in 2021. He hit 10 half-centuries in 2022 in T20Is and finished with 175 runs in the T20 World Cup, the joint-most by a Pakistan batter. Averaging 45.27 in T20Is in 2022, Rizwan enhanced his reputation as a high-quality anchor at the top of Pakistan's batting line-up.
2022 also saw Rizwan claim the top position in the Men's T20I Player Rankings for batters for a brief while. He ends the year at No.2 with 836 rating points, behind India's Suryakumar.
Rizwan's best performance came in the home series against England in the build-up to the T20 World Cup, when he made an unbeaten 88 off just 51 balls as Pakistan scaled a 200-plus target without the loss of a wicket.