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.


NBA fracas, Jose Mourinho's antics prove action needed to prevent rise of violence in sport

Updated 22 October 2018
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NBA fracas, Jose Mourinho's antics prove action needed to prevent rise of violence in sport

  • In LeBron James’ home debut for the Lakers, he ended up playing peacemaker, not play-maker
  • Sport stars are extremely wealthy individuals and the vast majority of fines issued by sporting governing bodies are a drop in the ocean

LONDON: The NBA has become one of the most popular competitions in the world in recent years, with the likes of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and LeBron James becoming global superstars.
As a product it is slick, glamorous and boasts celebrity fans, from the rap world to Hollywood royalty.
But the glitzy facade was shattered on Saturday when the Lakers-Rockets game descended into chaos, with both teams getting caught up in an ugly melee. Someone claimed to be spat on, punches were thrown, and three players had to be ejected from the game as the unruliness spilled over into the crowd.
In LeBron James’ home debut for the Lakers, he ended up playing peacemaker, not play-maker. Afterwards, no one was talking about his performance or the fact his team lost again. The result seemed almost irrelevant.
That fracas came hours after tension on the touchline in the Chelsea vs. Manchester United Premier League clash saw United boss Jose Mourinho lose his cool and need to be restrained in an ill-tempered scuffle with a Chelsea coach. And earlier this month, the hotly anticipated MMA match-up between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor witnessed disgraceful scenes as both fighters got involved in fights with each other’s coaching teams in the aftermath of the bout.
Unwarranted violence and aggression are becoming commonplace in sport, and yet it seems to be tolerated more and more.
What will happen in these cases?
Likely a short suspension here, a nominal fine there. Certainly less than the repercussions would be if similar behavior occurred on the streets away from sporting arenas.

Sport stars are extremely wealthy individuals and the vast majority of fines issued by sporting governing bodies are a drop in the ocean. Likewise, weeks-long suspensions seem scant punishment for actions that would see most other people fired.

Top-level sportspeople are also role-models to millions of people. What sort of message does it send to young people striving to reach the top of their chosen sport when they see those already there appearing to be given a free rein to behave inappropriately with impunity? Sport has enormous power in society, and means a lot to many people. It should be setting an example.
As such, it is about time sporting authorities started handing out punishments that fit the transgressions: Banning individuals for months and years rather than weeks, or issuing fines to the tune of a whole season’s wage. Firms must pull out of multimillion-dollar sponsorship deals instantly.
Nobody balked at the year-long bans for cricketers Steve Smith and David Warner for ball-tampering earlier this year. It was welcomed.
It may seem an overreaction, but something has to be done to deter the sort of behavior seen at the Staples Center, Stamford Bridge or in Las Vegas for the good of professional sport.