Kohli won the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the Year, the ICC Men’s Test Player of the Year and the ICC ODI Player of the Year. He was also named the captain of the ICC Test Team and the ODI Team of 2018. This is for the first time in history that a player managed to win all three awards together. Kohli, who has been scripting many records one after the other, deserved the recognition.
His numbers in 2018 was phenomenal. Kohli amassed a stupendous 1,322 runs from 13 Tests. He hit five hundreds and five fifties at an average of 55.08. The Indian captain also notched 1,202 from 14 ODIs. He was among only three players to have gone past the 1,000-run mark in the 50-over format.
Kohli smashed six hundreds and three fifties in 14 ODIs. He averaged a stunning 133.55. Kohli ended as the top run-getter in both Tests and ODIs. The right-handed batsman had won the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the Year last year as well but went on to better his performances this time around. He had also bagged the ODI player of the year award in 2012 and 2017.
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 22, 2019
It feels amazing: Virat Kohli
Kohli was happy after being named for all the three awards and said that he is grateful and proud to be recognised by the ICC.
“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. 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,” he said.
Kohli added, “To be rewarded in this manner from amongst all of them is obviously a very proud moment for me and something that gives you more motivation to keep repeating the same things because you have to keep the standard of cricket up and keep bringing in consistent performances. From that point of view, these awards give you that extra motivation.”
How good has he become in recent times?
Kohli has gone from strength to strength to show his value as a modern day cricketer. His consistency and eye for runs makes him different from the rest. Kohli’s plethora of runs in South Africa and England in the Tests showed how much he loves batting in conditions away from home. In Australia as well, Kohli struck a ton in the 2-1 Test series victory.
Great players can play in every part of the world and Kohli has been a fine example of the same. He has been a carrier for India in the white-ball format. And his ability to come and settle in has paid dividends. Kohli’s ability to rely on effortless stroke-play has been the sheer difference.
In ODIs, there is no better player than Kohli. He has made the format as his own. What Kohli has done well is that he wins matches for India consistently. When India chase in 50 overs cricket, the presence of Kohli is highly beneficial. He is a master of run-chases and 2018 was no different.
His best performance of 2018 came in South Africa and then against the West Indies at home. India won the six-match ODI series by a 5-1 margin under Kohli’s captaincy. Kohli scored 558 runs in the series.
His hunger for centuries helped India gain the momentum. He kept going on to notch big scores and his leadership attributes developed considerably.
Kohli is the modern day Tendulkar
Comparisons have started to do the rounds between Kohli and India’s greatest ever batsman Sachin Tendulkar. Both players ruled the game in their respective eras and the current Indian captain has risen in stature especially when it comes to matching Tendulkar in ODIs.
Kohli has 39 ODI tons to his name and is only behind Tendulkar. The 30-year-old has consistently broken several records of the legend in recent times. 2018 in particular saw Kohli develop a habit of surpassing the legend. Tendulkar ended his career with 100 international hundreds. Kohli has amassed 64 tons already so far. His next target will be Ricky Ponting (71 tons).
Recently, Kohli got to his 39th ODI ton in just 210 innings. It took Tendulkar to achieve the same in a staggering 350 innings. Last year, Kohli took the least number of innings (205) to score 10,000 runs in ODIs. Tendulkar on the other hand had taken 259 innings. If you look at the innings required for the runs scored, Kohli is on a different level altogether.
One can claim that Kohli is the modern day Tendulkar. The former Indian batsman’s contribution to cricket is unmatched. Tendulkar’s achievements as a batsman and his vision for runs was something extraordinary. Kohli has similar traits.
Kohli joins a host of legends for the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy
Kohli joined a host of legends for the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy. Rahul Dravid was the first recipient of the award in 2004. The Indian legend had proved why he was top class in ODI cricket as well, after amassing 1,025 runs that year, besides the tally of 946 in Tests.
Tendulkar was the next Indian to win the prestigious award in the year 2010. The maestro had amassed a staggering 1,562 runs in 14 Tests that year.
India had to wait for a long time before a player won the award once again. R Ashwin bagged the same for his top draw show in 2016. Ashwin was unstoppable for India and claimed 72 wickets across 12 Tests with a best of 7/59. The next two years saw Kohli being awarded.
He is the third player to win the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy on two occasions. Former Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson and batting great Ponting claimed the award twice as well. This is a huge moment for Kohli to rub his shoulders with these greats.
Some of cricket’s biggest names have received the award over the years. From Jacques Kallis to that of Michael Clarke, the performances helped these cricketers to dominate the proceedings.
Here are the list of winners:
Rahul Dravid (2004), Jacques Kallis and Andrew Flintoff (2005), Ricky Ponting (2006 and 2007), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (2008), Mitchell Johnson (2009), Sachin Tendulkar (2010), Jonathan Trott (2011), Kumar Sangakkara (2012), Michael Clarke (2013), Mitchell Johnson (2014), Steve Smith (2015), R Ashwin (2016), Virat Kohli (2017 and 2018).
Can Kohli lift the World Cup this year?
India go in as one of the favourites to win the tournament this year. Kohli will be leading India for the first time in the World Cup. His captaincy has gained a stronghold in ODIs off late. The wins in South Africa and Australia will give him immense confidence.
The World Cup is in England and Wales and will start from May 30 onwards. India will face stiff competition from England and New Zealand in particular. Kohli has the credentials to perform to his strengths and lift the side. If India manage to get the balance right and choose the right mix of players, then expect the side to come out strong and fire at all cylinders.
It is a big opportunity for India to make things count, and Kohli could count on his side’s consistency to get past the line in the UK. Earlier, Kohli had led India to the final of the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017.