Talismanic India batters Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, and fast-bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya on Monday were named in the ICC Men’s T20I team of the Year for 2022, which is captained by England’s T20 World Cup winning skipper Jos Buttler.
Others who made the cut for the Men’s T20I team of the Year 2022 include Pakistan opener Mohammad Rizwan and pacer Haris Rauf, New Zealand batter Glenn Phillips, Zimbabwe’s off-spin all-rounder Sikandar Raza, England’s Sam Curran, who was Player of the Tournament at T20 World Cup, Sri Lanka’s leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga and Ireland’s left-arm pacer Josh Little.
The latter half of 2022 saw Kohli showing glimpses of his vintage run-making self. He took the T20 Asia Cup in the UAE by storm, finishing as the second-highest run-getter with 276 runs in five games.
He also brought an end to his century drought of close to three years with a magnificent career-best 122 off just 61 balls against Afghanistan in Super Four stage of the tournament, laced with 12 fours and six sixes, at a strike-rate of 200.
Kohli carried over that sensational form to the T20 World Cup, where he played one of the greatest T20I innings in leading India’s heist against Pakistan in Melbourne. The 82 not out coming in a thrilling last-ball victory set the tone for the rest of the tournament, where he scored three more fifties and finished as the highest run-scorer with 296 runs.
Suryakumar, nominated for ICC Men’s T20I Cricketer of the Year 2022, had a sensational year 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 in Men’s T20Is, scoring 1164 runs at a ridiculous strike-rate of 187.43, averaging 46.56, including two hundreds and nine half-centuries. His tally of 68 sixes in 2022 is the highest anyone has hit in the format in a year by a fair distance.
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.
In 2022, Hardik shrugged off his time on sidelines caused by injuries to come into his own as the all-rounder India have wanted him to be, contributing heavily both with the bat and the ball. He enjoyed his best year by numbers in the Indian colours, scoring 607 runs while also picking up 20 wickets in T20Is.
While Kohli’s knock against Pakistan at the T20 World Cup will be remembered for the ages, Pandya also played a crucial role in rebuilding the Indian chase from 31/4 by making 40 and being present in a match-winning stand of 113 off 77 deliveries.
Later in the tournament, he also displayed his incredible hitting, with his 33-ball 63 taking India to a respectable total against England in the semi-final, though the knock eventually went in vain as his team slumped to a 10-wicket defeat in the semi-finals.