India’s King Kohli crowned ICC cricketer of the year

Virat Kohli was also crowned the world’s best one-day batsman, winning that title for the second time since 2012. (AFP)
Updated 18 January 2018
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India’s King Kohli crowned ICC cricketer of the year

NEW DELHI: Virat Kohli on Thursday was crowned cricketer of the year by the sport’s world governing body, capping off a strong innings for the Indian skipper across all three formats of the game.
Australian captain Steve Smith was named Test player of the year as the International Cricket Council unveiled its annual awards.
Kohli is just the fourth Indian to win the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy, following in the footsteps of batting greats Sachin Tendulkar (2010), Rahul Dravid (2004) and teammate Ravichandran Ashwin (2016).
“It’s the first time winning the Garfield Sobers Trophy, and it’s a huge honor for me,” Kohli said in a statement.
“It’s probably the biggest of all in world cricket and two Indians getting it back-to-back makes it more special.”
Kohli was also crowned the world’s best one-day batsman, winning that title for the second time since 2012.
During the voting period from 21 September 2016 to end-2017, Kohli scored 2,203 Test runs at an average of 77.80 including eight centuries.
He accumulated 1,818 runs in the one-day format including seven centuries.
The 29-year-old was also bestowed a rare honor — selected to captain the ICC’s Test and ODI sides, a team in name only that comprises the best players from around the globe.
India emerged as the world’s best Test side in 2017 under Kohli, with an unbroken series winning streak at home. He also leads the ODI and Twenty20 teams for the subcontinent.
But it has not always been smooth sailing for Kohli, whose men were defeated 2-0 in a Test series against South Africa that wrapped up Wednesday, prompting criticism about his team selection and India’s poor Test record away from home.
Smith meanwhile, who sits atop the Test batting chart, had little competition this time around for the prize he also won in 2015.
The Australian captain played 16 Tests during the 15-month voting period, scoring 1,875 runs at an average of 78.12, with eight hundreds and five half-centuries.
“I’ve had a really good year. I think I’ve scored six hundreds in the year and more importantly led the team to an Ashes victory, which is something that is really important to me,” said Smith.
“I am incredibly humbled and I love playing Test cricket. It’s the game that challenges your skills and your mind the most.”
The Australians have taken home the award in four of the last five years, with Mitchell Johnson winning in 2014 and Michael Clarke in 2013.
Indian leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal won international Twenty20 performance of the year for his incredible haul of 6-25 against England at Bangalore last February.
Pakistan paceman Hasan Ali was named emerging player of the year, while Afghanistan’s spin sensation Rashid Khan took home the associate cricketer of the year trophy.
The 19-year-old Khan made his international presence felt after bagging a lucrative Indian Premier League contract last year along with teammate Mohammad Nabi.


Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

Updated 20 January 2019
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Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

HUDDERSFIELD: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was far from satisfied despite a 3-0 win away to Huddersfield Town on Sunday that saw his side cut Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League table to four points.
Liverpool’s compelling 4-3 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday heaped huge pressure back onto reigning champions City but they were rarely troubled by a Town side that look a certain bet for relegation this season.
City’s first goal, a deflected strike for Danilo in the 18th minute, brought up their 100th goal of the season in all competitions before Raheem Sterling scored a diving header from Leroy Sane’s cross in the 54th minute and Sane himself made it 3-0 with a calm finish just two minutes later.
For Guardiola, it should have been an afternoon of enjoyment as his side again proved their willingness to push Liverpool all the way this season.
The City manager, however, has forged a footballing reputation based on sublime performances as well as ruthless goalscoring and, on that basis, his team’s showing in West Yorkshire was not a success as the visitors never really clicked into gear on a day against a Huddersfield side who had parted company with manager David Wagner on Monday.
“During the season you have these kind of games,” Guardiola said. “It is important to win. We have scored many goals in all competitions.
“(But) the way we played, we didn’t deserve more than three goals. We will improve in the future.
“We have to demand more from ourselves in every game and do our best, but sometimes it’s difficult.
“Today we are happy we have won but after immediately we have to analyze. During the season you have games when maybe you are not in the top level and it is important to win these games.”
Although City’s fans were happier than their manager following this result, Guardiola could at least take some heart from the fact his side again refused to blink first in the race for the title.
For the second consecutive week, City kicked off knowing Liverpool had already won their weekend fixture and that, consequently, the onus was back on his players to secure three points as well.
Once again, Guardiola’s side managed to do that following up the 3-0 victory over Wolves with this showing and the City manager was more than happy to remind everybody that silverware is not handed out for another four months.
“One team has been better but we’re in January and there’s many more games to play,” he added.
“You don’t win or lose the Premier League in January. We have to focus on what we have to do. If Liverpool win, we have to win. And if Liverpool lose then we also have to win.”
This match was a baptism of fire for Huddersfield’s caretaker boss Mark Hudson and while the Terriers showed impressive fight to inspire some hope this season, this defeat still left them 10 points adrift of safety.
If, as expected, the Borussia Dortmund Under-23 coach Jan Siewert is appointed as Wagner’s permanent replacement, nobody would blame him if he spent his first day in the job preparing for a return to the second-tier Championship next season.
“It’s been a long week,” admitted Hudson.