January 22: International Cricket Council announced the annual ICC Awards on Tuesday. But the awards proved to be special this year as Indian Captain Virat Kohli made a history by lifting all top three awards being named the Sir Garfield Sober ICC Cricketer of the Year, the ICC Men’s Test Player of the Year and the ICC ODI Player of the Year.
Arguably the best active batsman in the game, Virat Kohli finished as the highest scorer in Tests in 2018. He was the highest scorer in India's Test series against South Africa and England, and scored 200 runs in a Test match twice during the five-Test series in England. The results for Kohli the captain came towards the end of the year when India won a Test series in Australia for the first time in history. He is also crowned captain of the ICC Test and ODI teams of the year 2018.
Making India proud, along with Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant of India has been named as the ICC Emerging Player of the Year. It was a breakout year for the 21-year-old Rishabh Pant. Not only did he make his Test debut and cement his position as India's new first-choice wicket-keeper in the format, his maiden Test ton in a fourth-innings chase at the Oval against England established him as a reliable lower-order batsman.
Meanwhile, Aaron Finch, who has been leading Australia in white-ball cricket, was an easy winner of the T20I award after breaking the world record for the highest score for the second time. The 32-year-old had struck 16 fours and 10 sixes during that 76-ball knock to eclipse his own record of 156 against England in Southampton, which had won him the same award for the year 2013-14.
The ICC Spirit of Cricket Award 2018 went to New Zealand Captain Kane Williamson for his brilliant performance including the time led the side to a historic 2-1 series win against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, where his knocks of 89 and 139 in the decider in Abu Dhabi helped conjure a miraculous victory. Kane Williamson was nominated for his continued commitment to playing the game in the right spirit and as a role model to the whole sport.
Scotland’s Calum MacLeod is crowned the ICC Associate Player of the Year as his imperious 157 not against Afghanistan at Bulawayo at the CWCQ and his match-winning 140 not out against England were two of international cricket’s most impressive batting displays of the year.
Along with the cricketers, Kumar Dharmasena is the ICC Umpire of the Year 2018, winning the prestigious David Shepherd Trophy. Accepting the award, he hoped that it would inspire other Sri Lanka officials and also expressed, “It has been a very satisfying year for me and this award from the ICC is a great honour and privilege. I look forward to keep working hard and challenging myself in order to meet the demands of this great game”.
ICC also announced the Test and ODI Teams of the Year with Virat Kohli as Captain.