The ICC Test Cricketer of the Year 2022 nominations were announced on Friday and include South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, middle-order batsman Jonny Bairstow, left-handed opener Usman Khawaja, and England Test captain Ben Stokes.
The future of English Test cricket in 2022 has changed thanks to Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum. Stokes takes over an underwhelming English team that was struggling for success and at the bottom of the World Test Championship standings.
With series wins against New Zealand, South Africa, and Pakistan, his inspiring leadership has now developed a confident and attacking unit that has won nine out of ten Test matches during his tenure in 2022.
The ultra-aggressive style of cricket that England plays under Stokes is a result of his repeated statements about removing the players' fear of failure. Having a successful year with both bat and ball, he has also led by example. He has amassed 870 runs, two hundreds, four half-centuries, 26 wickets taken at an average of 31.19, and two centuries.
Bairstow has arguably benefited the most from McCullum and Stokes taking over as England's Test squad captains. Given the opportunity to play his offensive game, Bairstow enjoyed one of his most successful years in a Test match, which helped the longest version of the game see a renaissance.
In the ten Test matches that he participated in in 2022, Bairstow amassed 1061 runs at a mind-boggling average of 66.31 and a strike rate of 76. He achieved six centuries and a half, demonstrating an excellent conversion rate. If not for a bizarre golf injury that prevented him from playing in the final home Test against South Africa and the tour of Pakistan, the year may have been even better.
During the Ashes in 2022, Khawaja found his way back to the Australian side from the wilderness and made sure that no one else took his place once more. He had some standout efforts both as the opener and later in the middle order.
After returning to his country of birth, Khawaja was a key component of Australia's batting line throughout the second half of the Ashes and in their historic series victory in Pakistan.
He amassed 1080 runs overall in 11 games, a staggering average of 67.50. In the current calendar year, he has scored four hundreds and five half-centuries, and because to his efforts, Australia has advanced to the World Test Championship (WTC) final.
In 2022, Rabada continued to be South Africa's star player with the ball, making critical plays when they mattered most. He played a key role in several historic Proteas Test victories over India, New Zealand, and England last year.
Rabada amassed 47 wickets overall in just nine games, striking out at a horrifying strike rate of 34.1 and an amazing average of 22.25. Additionally, he amassed two five-wicket hauls, with his best total being 5/52.