Dominant Kohli sweeps ICC awards


Virat Kohli‘s prolific 2018, especially as a batsman, has been reflected in the ICC awards with the India captain winning the year’s three biggest prizes: the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for cricketer of the year, the Test player of the year and the ICC men’s ODI player of the year.

Kohli, whose India are No. 1 in the world in the ICC Test rankings and at No. 2 in both ODIs and T20Is, scored runs across formats: 1322 runs in 13 Tests at an average of 55.08 with five centuries, and 1202 runs in 14 ODIs at 133.55, with six centuries. He also ended the year at No. 1 in both the rankings for Tests and ODIs.

His performance is put into sharper context by the fact that India played most of their cricket in 2018 away from the subcontinent – there were tours of South Africa, England and Australia, apart from the home series against the West Indies.

“It feels amazing. It’s a reward for all the hard work that you do throughout the calendar year. I feel really grateful and very, very happy with the team doing well at the same time myself performing,” Kohli told the ICC.

“Having recognition at the global level from the ICC is something you feel proud of as a cricketer because you understand that there are many players playing the game.”

The 36-member voting panel was unanimous in picking Kohli for the Sobers award, with Kagiso Rabada finishing second both for the overall category and the one for Test players. Rashid Khan, meanwhile, was the runner-up for the ODI award.

Among the other major winners were Rishabh Pant, who was named the Emerging Cricketer of the Year. The Indian wicketkeeper-batsman made his Test and ODI debuts in 2018 and put in a number of noteworthy performances, especially in the longest format. In eight Tests in the year, Pant scored 537 runs, with a century – 114 in the second innings against England at The Oval. He was also good behind the stumps, grabbing 40 catches and pulling off two stumpings.

Aaron Finch‘s 172 off just 76 balls in Harare against Zimbabwe in July was chosen as the best T20I knock of the year. It was also the highest score in the format, and Finch broke his own record of 156, scored against England in Southampton in 2013, to claim the mark.

“It was just one of those days that things seemed to go my way, so it was nice to break my own record and get a 172. After I got a hundred and I started to middle consistently, that is when I knew it was going to be a big one. It all happened pretty quick,” said Finch of the score that ended just three runs short of Chris Gayle’s 175, the record for all T20 cricket.

Scotland batsman Calum MacLeod, meanwhile, won the Associate Cricketer of the Year award. His unbeaten 157 against Afghanistan in the World Cup qualifiers and then the match-winning unbeaten 140 against England in Edinburgh were among the most memorable knocks of the year in ODI cricket.

Kumar Dharmasena was named the Umpire of the Year, while Kane Williamson won the Spirit of Cricket award, and India’s victory in the Under-19 World Cup was voted as the Fans’ Moment of the Year. (ESPNCricinfo)

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