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.


Atletico beat Real Madrid 4-2 after extra time in Super Cup

Costa equalized late in the match with his second goal before Saul Niguez and Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion sealed the victory. (AP)
Updated 16 August 2018
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Atletico beat Real Madrid 4-2 after extra time in Super Cup

  • Atletico’s victory over their crosstown rival had added significance after they lost two Champions League finals to Madrid
  • The loss leaves new Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui still having to prove that there is life after Ronaldo

TALLINN, Estonia: Atletico Madrid finally got the better of Real Madrid on the European stage, scoring twice in extra time to win 4-2 in the UEFA Super Cup final on Wednesday in their rival’s first game without Cristiano Ronaldo.
Atletico got off to a flying start with Diego Costa scoring the competition’s fastest goal just 50 seconds in, but Madrid came back to take a 2-1 lead as Los Blancos tried to prove they can still win trophies without Ronaldo and with a new coach.
But Costa equalized late in the match with his second goal before Saul Niguez and Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion sealed the victory in extra time on a cool night in Estonia’s capital.
Atletico’s victory over their crosstown rival had added significance after they lost two Champions League finals to Madrid in 2014 and 2016. Diego Simeone’s team were also eliminated by Madrid in the 2017 semifinals.
“I’m elated,” Costa said. “Real Madrid has always beaten us in these finals. It was our turn to win a final.”
The loss leaves new Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui still having to prove that there is life after Ronaldo, who scored 450 goals in 438 matches before joining Juventus this summer and helped lead the club to three straight Champions League titles.
“I’m sad. I’m frustrated. It’s a final that we lost,” Lopetegui said. “But I also know that we will have to wake up and prepare ourselves for our first league match and start the season on the right foot.”
Gareth Bale showed glimpses of his pace and skill, but couldn’t mimic Ronaldo’s ability to decide a game on his own.
Instead, Costa was the one who dominated at the Lillekula Stadium in Tallinn. He overpowered Madrid’s center backs in the first minute after a long ball from Stefan Savic, first winning a header against Sergio Ramos and then muscling past Raphael Varane to cut into the area where he beat goalkeeper Keylor Navas at the near post.
Karim Benzema equalized in the 27th minute, heading in a pinpoint cross from Bale, who was able to break away from Lucas Hernandez on the right and curl the ball into his fellow forward’s path. Bale, who was given a freer role than he’s used to, caused trouble for Atletico’s defense in the first half as he switched between wings. He was Madrid’s main creative spark at that point, with his teammates constantly trying to feed him the ball.
He faded in the second half, but Lopetegui was pleased with Bale’s performance.
“Gareth has played very good. In this moment of the season, all the players are not in the best physical way,” the coach said. “We are happy with his performance and we hope he’s going to put in deserved performances in the next matches.”
Sergio Ramos scored a penalty in the 63rd minute after Juanfran Torres handled in the area as the ball flew over him from a corner.
Juanfran made up for it in the 79th by taking the ball off Marcelo near the touchline and then passing to Angel Correa. The substitute then skipped past a couple of Madrid defenders and cut the ball back from the byline to Costa, who poked the ball into the roof of the net.
In extra time, substitute Thomas Partey set up the decisive goal when he stripped the ball off Varane and played a one-two with Costa before dribbling toward the byline. Partey then cut the ball back to Saul Niguez, who volleyed the ball first-time to send the ball past Navas to make it 3-2 in the 98th minute. Koke finished Madrid off with a cool finish with 104 minutes gone.
Lopetegui, who joined Madrid in controversial fashion and was fired as Spain coach just before the World Cup, will need to show that he can build on the success of predecessor Zidedane Zidane and can win with new tactics.
At times, Madrid looked uncomfortable playing under the new possession-based system and seemed to miss Ronaldo’s flair and proficiency.
“We need to improve on the all the phases of the team,” Lopetegui said. “We don’t like to make mistakes.”
Madrid had to play without new goalkeeper Thibault Courtois, as the former Atletico player didn’t even dress for the match. Spanish media reports said the team didn’t register him in time with UEFA following his transfer from Chelsea.
For Atletico, the victory gives the team a boost before the season starts, Simeone said.
“The club is growing. We have a new stadium,” he said. “We have players who want to join us, players who don’t want to leave us. I think this speaks volumes.”