Ajinkya Rahane, whose fighting 112 helped India to a win in the Melbourne Test of the 2020-21 series against Australia, has won the ESPNcricnfo Award for best Test batting performance of 2020.
The Test bowling award went to Josh Hazlewood for his 5 for 8 against India in the previous Test, in Adelaide, where the visitors were bowled out for their lowest score ever, 36.
The men’s ODI batting award was won by Australian, Glenn Maxwell, for his 90-ball 108, which handed England their first bilateral ODI series defeat in five years. This is Maxwell’s third year in a row winning an ESPNcricinfo award – he won the T20I batting performance award for 2018 and 2019.
Blessing Muzarabani of Zimbabwe won in the ODI bowling category for his first five-for, which helped his team tie an ODI against Pakistan, after which he took a further two wickets in the Super Over.
Poonam Yadav’s stellar 4 for 19, the winner of the women’s bowling performance award, took India to a 17-run win over Australia in the opening match of the Women’s T20 World Cup. Come the final, Alyssa Healy, winner of the batting award, paid India back, with a 39-ball 75 that blasted Australia to a steep total, and the tournament title.
The men’s T20I batting and bowling awards went to Jonny Bairstow, for his 86 not out against South Africa, and Lockie Ferguson, who blew West Indies away with sheer pace in Auckland, ending with a career-best 5 for 21.
Another New Zealander, Kyle Jamieson, took the award for debutant of the year. His 31 international wickets from 16 matches in 2020 included 25 in Tests at 14.44 – a showing that was instrumental in New Zealand rising to No. 1 in the ICC rankings.
Sambit Bal, Editor-in-chief, ESPNcricinfo and ESPN South Asia, said, The year gone by brought cricket challenges like no other before in the wake of Covid-19. “The onset of the pandemic changed international cricket, with fewer matches and stricter regulations
“Schedules became tighter, players had shorter breaks between demanding matches, and faced higher possibilities of falling ill, while having to also be available for quicker rotation of schedules.
“However, cricketers rose to the challenge. This year’s winners of the ESPNcricinfo Awards have shown the utmost grit and exemplify the spirit of cricket with their resistance. We congratulate the winners and nominees and wish them an even stronger 2021,” Bal said.
The winners, across nine categories, were selected by a jury of ESPNcricinfo’s senior writers and editors.