The International Cricket Council (ICC) has revealed the list of nominees for the coveted title of Test player of the year. England duo Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow lead the list alongside one player each from Australia and South Africa.
The cricketing governing body has recently released nominees for the ICC ODI Player of the Year as well as the ICC T20I Player of the Year.
2022 has been a memorable year for England, with Test skipper Stokes being at the fore, taking over from Joe Root. A record chase against India, whitewashes over New Zealand and Pakistan and a resounding series win over South Africa marks a strong start to the all-rounder's reign as England's red-ball captain.
Apart from his leadership skills, Stokes has made an impact with both the bat and ball. Scoring 870 runs, including two hundreds, as well as claiming 26 wickets at an average of 31.19. His inspiring ton against South Africa and a marathon spell in the Pakistan series arguably stand out from the rest of his displays this year.
Stokes' teammate Bairstow is the second nominee on the list. The explosive wicketkeeper-batter has been rejuvenated in Brendon McCullum's regime, making the No. 5 spot his own in the Test setup.
He scored 1061 runs at a mind-boggling average of 66.31. The Yorkshire-born player scored six centuries, with the majority of them coming during the home series against New Zealand and the one-off rescheduled Test against India.
He, however, could not add to his imperious tally after suffering a freak injury prior to the T20 World Cup 2022. The right-handed batter was not part of the squad that relished a 3-0 result in Pakistan recently.
Usman Khawaja and Kagiso Rabada emerge as the remaining two nominees for ICC Test player of the Year award
Australia's search for a second opener following poor returns by the likes of Matt Renshaw and Marcus Harris and the continued misfortune of Will Pucovski was answered by Usman Khawaja's return. The left-handed batter announced his second stint with a monumental set of knocks in the Sydney Test.
Since then, he has gone from strength to strength. He was adjudged the Player of the Series against Pakistan and ended the year with 1080 runs in 11 matches at a stunning average of 67.50.
He has played a major hand in Australia's dominance in the ongoing ICC World Test Championship (WTC) cycle, where they have only lost one Test so far.
The final nominee on the list is South Africa's premium pacer Kagiso Rabada. While the right-arm speedster is struggling to find rhythm in Australia, he was on song for the better part of 2022. He took 47 wickets in nine matches at an average of 22.25.
His best spell of the year came during the first Test against South Africa. He claimed seven wickets in the contest to hand England their first defeat under Stokes and McCullum.
Who will be crowned the ICC Test Player of the Year? Let us know what you think.
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