Star Indian cricketers Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have won big at the ICC Awards for the year 2019, which were announced on Wednesday. While Kohli walked away with the Spirit of Cricket Award, Rohit was named ODI Player of the Year.
Kohli, who had swept the Player of the Year, Test Player of the Year and ODI Player of the Year last year, won the award for his gesture at the 2019 World Cup, when he egged the crowd on to support Steve Smith rather than boo him soon after his return to international cricket from a one-year suspension for the infamous sandpaper-gate controversy.
“I’m surprised that I have got it, after many years of being under the scanner for the wrong things. It is part of camaraderie that sportsmen must have with each other. That moment was purely understanding an individual’s situation,” Kohli said in an official statement.
“I don’t think a guy who is coming out of a situation like that needs to be taken advantage of. You can sledge, can have banter on the field, you say things to the opposition in wanting to beat them. But booing someone is not in the spirit of any sport, I don’t endorse it.
“Also, that should not be a representation of our fans and what we stand as a cricketing nation, a sporting nation. We need to all take responsibility towards that. Intimidate the opposition, definitely try and have an upper hand but in a matter that is not targeting someone emotionally. That is not acceptable at any level and people should be wary of that,” he added.
Rohit, who has been named ODI cricketer of the year, aggregated a total of 1409 runs from 28 matches with seven hundreds. The 32-year-old in fact became the first batsman to hit five hundreds in a single edition of the World Cup and finished the tournament as the highest run-scorer.
“I would like to thank the ICC for giving me this award and the BCCI for giving me the opportunity to represent the country. It is great to be recognised in this fashion,” said Rohit.
“We are very happy with the way we performed as a team in 2019. We could have done better but we have a lot of positives and a lot to look forward to in 2020,” he added.
Another Indian to win at the ICC Awards for 2019 was Deepak Chahar who won T20I Performance of the Year. Chahar won the award for his stupendous figures of 6/7 against Bangladesh in Nagpur, which included a hat-trick.
“I am very happy to receive this award. I would like to thank the ICC for this award and to the BCCI for giving me a chance to represent my country. That performance was very special for me. I got an opportunity to play for India after a long time. Taking six wickets conceding only seven runs was a dream performance for me and will always remain close to my heart,” the right-arm pacer said.
Apart from that, Kohli was also named captain of both the ICC Test and ODI teams of the year. The ODI team of the year has Mohammed Shami and Kuldeep Yadav as the other two Indians while Mayank Agarwal managed to make a cut to the Test team of the year.
ICC Test Team of the Year (in batting order): Mayank Agarwal, Tom Latham, Marnus Labuschagne, Virat Kohli (captain), Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, BJ Watling (wicketkeeper), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Neil Wagner, Nathan Lyon.
ICC ODI Team of the Year (in batting order): Rohit Sharma, Shai Hope, Virat Kohli (captain), Babar Azam, Kane Williamson, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Mitchell Starc, Trent Boult, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav.