Hat-trick Of Awards Just The Beginning For Insatiable Virat Kohli

January 24, 2019

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Virat Kohli did not just have a great 2018. He had a year which no other batsman in the history of cricket has ever had.

The Indian skipper made 211 runs in 10 T20’s at an average of 30.14. Good right? Wait for it. He made 1,322 runs in 13 Test matches in the year at an average of 55.08 with five hundreds. Excellent right? Wait for it. In ODIs, a format he absolutely owns, Virat Kohli made 1202 runs at a stunning average of 133.55 with six hundreds.

Such was his consistency and excellence across formats that Kohli came back with three ICC awards in his kitty, the first ever player to do so since the awards were started. Kohli was announced as the ICC Cricketer of the Year, ICC Test Player of the Year, and ICC ODI Player of the Year. He was the top scorer in both Tests and ODIs in the year and was also christened as the captain of the ICC Test and ODI teams of the year.

Test team of the year: Tom Latham, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli (capt), Henry Nicholls, Rishabh Pant, Jason Holder, Kagiso Rabada, Nathan Lyon, Mohammad Abbas, Jasprit Bumrah

ODI team of the year: Rohit Sharma, Johnny Bairstow, Virat Kohli (capt), Joe Root, Ross Taylor, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Mustafizur Rahman, Rashid Khan, Kuldeep Yadav , Jasprit Bumrah

“Not only is Kohli the first player to win these three major ICC awards together but he has also been named the captain of the ICC Test and ODI teams of the year for a fabulous run in international cricket,” the ICC said in their statement.

Kohli reciprocated the feeling, stating that it felt “amazing” to win the trio of awards, and deservedly so. The Indian skipper has been a menacing force for opposition sides when playing India. Under him, the Test side went from high to the skies with some mesmeric performances culminating in a Test series win in Australia for the first time ever.

Kohli’s performances was fitting for someone who was racking up runs for fun for the past few years. He had won the ICC Cricketer of the year award and the ICC ODI player of the year in 2017 as well. According to ICC, Kohli was a unanimous choice for the cricketer of the year award in 2018 with Kagiso Rabada coming a distant second.

Kohli has been a run-machine for the past few years across formats in International cricket. Since 2015, across formats, Kohli has made a stunning 9676 runs in 156 International matches at a batting average of 64.50. He is way ahead in the list with no other player clocking more than 9000 runs in the format. The second in this list is England batsman, Joe Root, who has 8828 runs at an average of 51.32. That no other batsman has an average over 60 except Kohli is further evidence to his scary consistency against quality attacks.

Cut down to number of hundreds and you see Kohli has a whopping 34 tons across formats and a further 35 half-centuries. No other batsman has recorded over 22 tons in this time frame which is further proof of where Kohli stands in a ladder of batsmen in this generation.

A look at his International cricket by splitting it into each year would give better insight into Kohli the International cricket and his aggressive progression chart. In 2008, he came into International cricket and averaged 31.80 with zero hundreds. That average rose as each year went by with only two years – 2011 and 2015 – seeing him average less than 40 across formats.

In the last three years, beginning 2016, Kohli’s numbers have skyrocketed. He averaged 86.50 in 2016 with seven hundreds while in 2017 and 2018 he ticked off 11 hundreds apiece while averaging 68.73 and 68.37 respectively.

It is no surprise that the majority of the jury opted to pick him as captain while all of them voted for him as the player of the year. He ended 2018 as the top-ranked Test and ODI batsmen while India themselves finished the year as the top Test side and the second best after England in ODIs. Kohli led India to six Test wins and nine ODI wins in 2018 and despite clamour surrounding team selections, managed to be the skipper of the best teams from the year that was selected.

“It’s a reward for all the hard work that you do throughout the calendar year. 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,” Kohli was quoted as saying.

The unmistakable hunger for success is evident in each move he makes on the field and the determination and commitment with which he leads the side is worth watching and learning from for a budding cricketer. His uber consistency and insatiable appetite for achieving more has seen him make a dash to the top of the best cricketers list. 2018 needed Virat Kohli and it is unlikely 2019 will be unfriendly to him.

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Author: Rohit Sankar

Rohit Sankar is a cricket enthusiast striving to convey the finer details of the game in a capsule. He hopes to present a bird's eye view of the game, as he sees it, to the readers.

Twitter @imRohit_SN

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