Virat Kohli makes history with clean sweep of ICC awards

Thumbs up from Virat Kohli who enjoyed yet another stellar year with the back across all formats of the game. (AFP)
Updated 22 January 2019

Virat Kohli makes history with clean sweep of ICC awards

  • India skipper win cricketer of the year, Test cricketer of the year and ODI cricketer of the year.
  • Kohli led India to their first ever series win in Australia earlier this year.

SYDNEY: India captain Virat Kohli said he was “very very happy” after becoming the first-ever player to clinch all three top honors, including cricketer of the year, in the International Cricket Council awards.
Kohli, who recently led India to their maiden Test and one-day series triumph in Australia, was also voted the Test and ODI men’s player of the year as the cricket’s world governing body announced its annual honors, chosen by former players and veteran journalists.
“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 said.
“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 30-year-old Kohli, who is married to Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma, has reached superstar status in cricket-mad India, after first coming into the limelight when he led the South Asian nation to victory in the 2008 Under-19 World Cup.
He was the top Test and ODI batsman in 2018, scoring 1,322 Test runs at an average of 55.08 — including five centuries — and 1,202 runs at 133.55 in ODIs, with six centuries.
He also scored 211 runs in 10 Twenty20 matches.
Kohli was picked to skipper the ICC Test and ODI teams of the year for the second year running.

PONTING’S FOOTSTEPS

Kohli became only the second player after Australian great Ricky Ponting to retain the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy — given to the cricketer of the year.
He was the unanimous choice for the award, with South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada coming second in both the cricketer of the year category and the Test player of the year.
“This is well deserved recognition for an extraordinary talent,” ICC chief executive David Richardson said of Kohli.
“His regard for the game and particularly for Test cricket is also recognized and appreciated. He is passionate in his support of the longest form of the game and its continued importance.”
Australia opener Aaron Finch won the T20 performance of the year award for the second time for his 172 — the highest-ever individual T20 score — against Zimbabwe in Harare last July.
India’s Rishabh Pant was named emerging player of the year, while Scotland batsman Callum MacLeod took home the associate cricketer of the year trophy.
The 21-year-old Pant became the first Indian wicketkeeper to score a Test century in England, and equalled the record for the most catches taken in a Test, with 11 in Adelaide in December.


South Korea football team departs for World Cup qualifier in Pyongyang

Updated 14 October 2019

South Korea football team departs for World Cup qualifier in Pyongyang

BEIJING: South Korean footballers departed for Pyongyang on Monday to play a World Cup qualifier against North Korea amid deadlocked talks over the North’s nuclear arsenal.
The teams — with Tottenham’s star forward Son Heung-min included in the South Korean squad — are expected to face each other at the Kim Il Sung Stadium on Tuesday.
This will be the first competitive men’s game between the two sides to be held in Pyongyang, and has raised hopes for new momentum in ties between the two Koreas.
But Pyongyang refused to hold direct talks with Seoul on the logistics for the match, denying South Korean fans and journalists permission to travel with the team.
South Korean players said the absence of cheering fans will be a first.
“It’s much better to play in a packed stadium rather than an empty one, but I think we’ll be able to play a good match if we use it as motivation,” said defender Kim Min-jae before boarding a flight to Pyongyang at Beijing airport.
The South Korean footballers were accompanied by a delegation of 55 people, limited to players, coaches and staff.
Broadcasters in the South said that plans to air the match live had fallen apart, with some media reporting that there may be attempts to carry the North Korean feed.
The match comes in the wake of a series of North Korean missile tests that raised tensions in the region, and after the breakdown of talks with the United States over Pyongyang’s weapons programs.