NEW DELHI: Virat Kohli on Thursday was crowned cricketer of the year by the sport’s world governing body, capping off a strong innings for the Indian skipper across all three formats of the game.
Australian captain Steve Smith was named Test player of the year as the International Cricket Council unveiled its annual awards.
Kohli is just the fourth Indian to win the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy, following in the footsteps of batting greats Sachin Tendulkar (2010), Rahul Dravid (2004) and teammate Ravichandran Ashwin (2016).
“It’s the first time winning the Garfield Sobers Trophy, and it’s a huge honour for me,” Kohli said in a statement.
“It’s probably the biggest of all in world cricket and two Indians getting it back-to-back makes it more special.”
Kohli was also crowned the world’s best one-day batsman, winning that title for the second time since 2012.
During the voting period from 21 September 2016 to end-2017, Kohli scored 2,203 Test runs at an average of 77.80 including eight centuries.
He accumulated 1,818 runs in the one-day format including seven centuries.
The 29-year-old was also bestowed a rare honour — selected to captain the ICC’s Test and ODI sides, a team in name only that comprises the best players from around the globe.
India emerged as the world’s best Test side in 2017 under Kohli, with an unbroken series winning streak at home. He also leads the ODI and Twenty20 teams for the subcontinent.
But it has not always been smooth sailing for Kohli, whose men were defeated 2-0 in a Test series against South Africa that wrapped up Wednesday, prompting criticism about his team selection and India’s poor Test record away from home.
Smith meanwhile, who sits atop the Test batting chart, had little competition this time around for the prize he also won in 2015.
The Australian captain played 16 Tests during the 15-month voting period, scoring 1,875 runs at an average of 78.12, with eight hundreds and five half-centuries.
“I’ve had a really good year. I think I’ve scored six hundreds in the year and more importantly led the team to an Ashes victory, which is something that is really important to me,” said Smith.
“I am incredibly humbled and I love playing Test cricket. It’s the game that challenges your skills and your mind the most.”
The Australians have taken home the award in four of the last five years, with Mitchell Johnson winning in 2014 and Michael Clarke in 2013.
Indian leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal won international Twenty20 performance of the year for his incredible haul of 6-25 against England at Bangalore last February.
Pakistan paceman Hasan Ali was named emerging player of the year, while Afghanistan’s spin sensation Rashid Khan took home the associate cricketer of the year trophy.
The 19-year-old Khan made his international presence felt after bagging a lucrative Indian Premier League contract last year along with teammate Mohammad Nabi.