India's captain Virat Kohli
In this file photo taken on January 7, 2019 India's captain Virat Kohli kisses the Border-Gavaskar trophy as the Indian team celebrate their series win on the fifth day of the fourth and final cricket Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Virat Kohli, who swept the International Cricket Council (ICC) top awards on Tuesday, created history at the annual event by becoming the first cricketer to bag the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the Year, ICC Men’s Test Player of the Year and ICC ODI Player of the Year for his performances in 2018.

Acknowledging the honour, the Indian captain candidly admitted it was his hard work that made it possible.

“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 in a statement.

The result of his hard work in numbers is 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 and 211 runs from 10 Twenty20 matches, making him the top candidate for the awards.

“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,” added Kohli, who bettered his performance in 2017 above all cricketers in the world. At last year’s ICC awards, he won the Sir Garfield Trophy and ICC ODI Player of the Year awards. He had also bagged the ICC ODI Player of the Year in 2012.

Among the first to laud Kohli’s achievement was Zaheer Abbas, legendary Pakistan batsman and former President of the ICC, who said: “I think at the moment Virat is the best. He will break all the records [set by Sachin Tendulkar]. But not only Virat, the Indian team also has other top batsmen too. If you look at Rohit Sharma you are just delighted to watch his strokes. One can only appreciate the beauty of his strokes. The variety of strokes in possession of Indian batsmen counts a lot.”

Kohli, who has become only the second player after Australian great Ricky Ponting to retain the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy, was also named as the best skipper of the ICC Test and ODI teams of the year for the second year running.

“This is a well deserved recognition for an extraordinary talent,” said ICC Chief Executive Dave Richardson. “His regard for the game and particularly for Test cricket is also recognised and appreciated. He is passionate in his support of the longest form of the game and its continued importance. To be recognised as a true cricketing great you need to be successful at all formats of the game and Virat has become a great ambassador for our sport.”

The BCCI tweeted about Kohli saying: “Well & truly, The King.”

Teammate and off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin tweeted: “Terrific, terrific achievement. Well done.”

India’s rising star Risabh Pant, who 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 scalps in Adelaide, was named Emerging Player of the Year. Australia opener Aaron Finch won the T20 performance of the year award for the second time for his 172 — the highest individual T20 score — against Zimbabwe in Harare last July.

Scotland batsman Callum MacLeod bagged the associate cricketer of the year trophy while umpire Kumar Dharmasena was named the ICC Umpire of the Year and won the prestigious David Shepherd Trophy.

Incidentally, South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada came second in both the Cricketer of the Year and the Test Player of the Year categories.

ICC Awards

Virat Kohli: ICC Cricketer of the Year, ICC Men’s Test Player of the Year, ICC ODI Player of the Year.
13 Tests: 1322 runs
14 ODIs: 1202 runs

ICC Emerging Player: Rishabh Pant (India)

ICC Test Team of the Year (in batting order): 1. Tom Latham (New Zealand), 2. Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka), 3. Kane Williamson (New Zealand), 4. Virat Kohli (India) (capt), 5. Henry Nicholls (New Zealand), 6. Rishabh Pant (India) (wk), 7.Jason Holder (Windies), 8.Kagiso Rabada (South Africa), 9. Nathan Lyon (Australia), 10.Jasprit Bumrah (India), 11.Mohammad Abbas (Pakistan)

ICC Men’s ODI team of the year (in batting order): 1. Rohit Sharma (India), 2.Jonny Bairstow (England), 3.Virat Kohli (India) (capt), 4. Joe Root (England), 5. Ross Taylor (New Zealand), 6. Jos Buttler (England) (wk), 7. Ben Stokes (England), 8. Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh), 9. Rashid Khan (Afghanistan), 10. Kuldeep Yadav (India) 11.Jasprit Bumrah (India).