Mustafizur Rahman, one of Bangladesh's most famous cricketing exports, has broken new ground for his country by becoming the first player to win an International Cricket Council (ICC) award yesterday.
In their end-of-year awards, the sport's global governing body named the left-arm seamer the ICC's Emerging Player of the Year for 2016.
The voting period for the ICC awards was between September 14 2015 and September 20 2016, and although the Satkhira bowler's year was curtailed to an extent by the shoulder operation he had in England in August, he has still done enough to be named the brightest young star in cricket. Within that period, he played three ODIs for Bangladesh which yielded eight wickets at an average of 11.75, and 10 T20Is that produced 19 wickets at 11.73.
He featured in the ICC World Twenty20 in India in February-March this year and, although he was working his way back from a side strain, bagged the tournament's best bowling figures with five for 22 against New Zealand in Kolkata.
His influence on global cricket, however, was not restricted to his performance for the Tigers. He followed up his World Twenty20 heroics with a star turn in the Indian Premier League for eventual champions Sunrisers Hyderabad in April-May, finishing fourth on the tournament wickets list with 17 wickets from 16 games -- an achievement that made him the first foreign player to win the tournament's Emerging Player award.
Then came his stint with Sussex Sharks in the Natwest T20 Blast, which started off with a four-wicket haul against Essex Eagles but the shoulder injury soon cut his stint short.
“This award is the best gift of the year for me and will encourage me to do even better in the coming years. I'm delighted and proud to win this award, especially since it's the first time that a Bangladesh player has won an ICC award.
“To play international cricket is a dream for every budding cricketer and it has been a dream come true for me,” said Mustafizur, currently on tour with the national team in New Zealand, when he learnt of the honour.
Mustafizur made a comeback to national colours for the first time since his surgery yesterday in a tour match against a New Zealand XI. He bowled with his customary zip to bag two wickets for 39 runs and thankfully for the nation's cricket fans, did not feel any discomfort while bowling. The ICC award can only augur well for the rest of his performances on tour.
The other winners of ICC's annual honours were India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (Cricketer of the Year and Test Cricketer of the Year), Quinton de Kock (ODI player of the Year), Carlos Brathwaite (T20 Performance of the Year), Suzie Bates (Women's ODI and T20I Player of the Year) and Mohammad Shahzad (Associate and Affiliate Cricketer of the Year).