Pakistani pacer Fatima Sana has been named the International Cricket Council (ICC) Emerging Women's Cricketer of the Year award for 2021.
The award marks the first ICC accolade won by a Pakistani woman cricketer, making it a huge accomplishment for the young star.
The ICC in a statement said that the 20-year-old "impressed one and all with her all-round efforts in 2021".
Her figures for the year consist of 24 wickets at an average of 23.95 and 165 runs at 16.50 in 16 international matches.
"She became an integral part of Pakistan's ODI and T20I side owing to her wicket-taking ability as a bowler, and ability to add handy runs down the order at the same time," the statement read.
The ICC noted that aside from playing at home, Sana toured Bangladesh, West Indies, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and "delivered impressive all-round performances everywhere".
"In fact, 18 of her 24 wickets in the year came in the 11 matches she played against the West Indies. Sana showed a lot of heart against the attacking West Indies batters and succeeded in keeping them at bay," it said.
The cricket authority said that Sana has "shown good power and range as a lower-order batter too". While batting at number 8, she posted impressive scores of 28*, 22* and 17* (* = not out) against strong sides like West Indies, South Africa and Zimbabwe respectively.
Sana's "most memorable performance" was witnessed in July against West Indies as she claimed her maiden five-for in ODIs and also played an attacking knock of 28* to power Pakistan to a 22-run win (D/L Method), the ICC said.
"Pakistan had already lost the series going into this ODI but this win served as a great confidence-booster for the team and the young Sana as well. With the bat, Sana added vital runs in the slog overs. As a bowler, she claimed the big wickets of Deandra Dottin and Britney Cooper with the new ball and then came back at the death to clean up the tail, thus registering bowling figures of 5/39," the ICC noted.
The Pakistan Cricket Board congratulated Sana on winning the award, saying: "We are proud of you Fatima!"
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