Photo Credit: ICC/ T20 World Cup
As part of the 2021 edition of the ICC Awards, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced today the first set of the individual awards with the associate cricketers of the year category in men’s and women’s international cricket. The captain of Oman’s men’s cricket team Zeeshan Maqsood was voted as the ICC Men’s Associate Cricketer of the Year for his fantastic performance in 2021, including leading his team at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup last year. The left-arm spinner was consistent with his performance across both ODI and T20I and aided his team to several victories throughout the year. Leading his side with aplomb, Maqsood also flourished in both batting and bowling roles for Oman in 2021. He played a crucial role as a middle order batter and picked up wickets consistently.
Maqsood made fifties against the USA and Namibia, and was at his consistent best as a bowler, controlling the flow of runs in the middle overs and picking up vital wickets. Maqsood particularly thrived against PNG, registering four wickets against them twice this year, one in an ODI and the other one in at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. His most memorable performance in the year was against PNG at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup where he was also named as the Player of the Match for his performance.
Commenting on receiving the honour Zeeshan Maqsood, said: “I am very delighted to be presented as the ICC Men’s Associate Cricketer of the Year. This award surely is one of the biggest achievements in my career and gives me immense pleasure that my efforts have been recognized by the ICC. I would like to thank the Oman Cricket Management, my teammates, support staff, my family, and my organization to have backed me in all stances to express myself on the field. 2021 has truly been god’s blessing to me in terms of my accolades and leading Oman to flourish to the highest level”.
In the women’s category, Austrian all-rounder Andrea-Mae Zepeda was voted as the ICC Women’s Associate Cricketer of the Year for her stellar performance in 2021. Zepeda was consistent at the top of the order for Austria while scoring her runs at a brisk rate. Out of the eight T20Is she played in 2021, three were against Belgium, while the other five came against Italy. Zepeda was impressive in the series against the Belgians in particular, as she scored over fifty runs, including a century, in all three matches against them.
Zepeda’s most memorable performance was in the first T20I of the three-match series against Belgium.
She finished her innings with 101 runs off just 63 deliveries, an innings consisting of seventeen fours, powering Austria to a massive total of 197/2.
Commenting on her award Andrea-Mae Zepeda said: “It is a great honour and a pleasant surprise for me to receive the ICC Women’s Associate Cricketer of the Year award. Thank you, ICC, for this. I would also like to thank my teammates, my coaches, the Austrian Cricket Association, my home club Austrian Cricket Club Vienna, to my family and friends for always supporting me and encouraging me to play such a wonderful game.
“I really enjoyed playing cricket last season despite being surrounded by COVID 19 and working full-time as a medical doctor. Nevertheless, we played some very good cricket, and I was able to perform well. My best innings was probably against Belgium in our home ground when I scored my first century ever. Looking forward, I will try my best to continue my journey and to contribute to my team as much as I can.”