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Zeeshan thrilled to be ICC Associate Cricketer of 2021

Hat-trick hero Khawar Ali with his captain Zeeshan Maqsood after Oman's win over Netherlands
Hat-trick hero Khawar Ali with his captain Zeeshan Maqsood after Oman's win over Netherlands

MUSCAT: Oman team captain Zeeshan Maqsood was named as the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men's Associate Cricketer of the Year 2021 on Sunday after a memorable outing last year which included the T20 World Cup in Muscat.

"It is a great honour from the ICC to start the year. I thank the Oman Cricket board and management, my teammates, support staff, my family, and my organisation for their crucial support over the years," Maqsood told Oman Observer.

Zeeshan led Oman in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 recently in Muscat where he had a match-winning performance in the opening match against Papua New Guinea. The Oman skipper took four wickets to earn the man-of-the-match award.

Oman, who missed the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup narrowly, are gearing up for the one-day internationals and T20s against the UAE next month and later meet Ireland in World Cup 2023 qualifiers.

"This award is a great encouragement for the cricket in the Sultanate of Oman and will inspire many youngsters to follow their dream to become the national cricketers."

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.

Commenting on the ongoing Legends League cricket, Zeeshan said it was exciting to watch the former superstars of the game once again.

"It was great to watch the legends in action again. We can still learn many things from these stars."

Amerat Stadium has etched its place among the global cricket venues after the T20 World Cup.

"Amerat Stadium has got approval to host Test and ODIs and it serves the local cricketers well. The Oman Cricket and the ground staff has done very good job to live up to the expectations while hosting the big tournaments."

Zeeshan said the good structure of Oman Cricket League with several lower divisions gives a budding player to come up systematically according to his performance in the game.

"Our League structure is a good platform for youngsters and upcoming players. The players can choose the suitable division before coming to the Premier or A divisions. They can earn the proper experience while competing in the lower divisions and come up strong to the top divisions."


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 said: “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.”

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