World’s Best Honoured as ICC hands out player of the year awards
Many of the best players in the world have been acknowledged by the International Cricket Council, as cricket’s governing body handed out it’s annual group of awards for excellence. The awards are based on performances between September 2016 and the end of 2017, and recognise players in various categories.
Cricketer of the Year
Virat Kohli. Nothing much more needs to be said, but a look at his stats over the qualifying period is a worthwhile exercise. He showed an incredible ability to dominate in all three levels of cricket, as evidenced by his numbers during this time. In Test matches, as well as captaining India he managed to score over 2,000 runs during the qualifying period at an average of 77.8, and unbelievably, scored six double-hundreds in this time. In the one-day arena he was arguably even more impressive, averaging an enormous 82.63 while racking up seven tons. To cap it off, he managed to prove a force to be reckoned with in the shortest form of the game as well, albeit in limited games. In ten T20 International’s, he averaged 37.38 at the huge strike rate of 153. Highlights in this form included an 82 off 54 balls against Sri Lanka, and a 65 off 42 balls against New Zealand. After putting in one of the best all-round season’s in living memory, the cricketer of the year title was well deserved.
Test Player of the Year
Unsurprisingly, Australian captain Steve Smith took this one out after a year in which he was a dominant force in Test cricket. During the qualification period, he averaged an incredible 78.12, and scored eight centuries. Clearly not content with mere small hundreds, he has converted three of these centuries into scores of 150+, including a 239 against England in Perth just last month, and has been unbeaten in four of these innings. Not a bad period of cricket, and certainly well deserving of this award.
ODI Player of the Year
Again, Virat Kohl. As mentioned already, he was unbelievable in this format over the qualification period. Highlights were aplenty, but among them include an unbeaten 154 off 134 balls against New Zealand, 122 off 105 against England, a rapid-fire 131 off 96 against Sri Lanka, and most recently, two centuries in a three game ODI-series against the Kiwis. He showed an ability to perform against a wide range of teams, consistently racking up runs against some high quality bowling attacks.
Emerging Player of the Year
Pakistani young gun Hasan Ali took this one out, after the 23 year old had a season to remember. Although they have been impressive, Ali has played just two test matches, so this award comes largely on the back of his form in the ODI arena. Incredibly, he was ranked the number one player in ODI’s in the world just over a year after his debut. The pace bowler has showed an uncanny knack for taking wickets, going wicketless just once in 18 ODI’s in 2017. Among the most impressive of his performances are a 5-52 effort against Australia in Sydney, a 5-34 game against Sri Lanka, and 5-38 against the West Indies. He grabbed 2.5 wickets a game in 2017, while still managing to keep his economy rate at a very acceptable level. He will undoubtedly be one to watch in the future.
Associate Player of the Year
Afghanistani leg-spinner Rashid Khan took this one out. An exciting achievement for him no doubt, but even more exciting is the fact that this is the last time he will be eligible for the award. Afghanistani have now been made ICC Full Members, meaning he will now be competing with the best players in the world, including Test Cricketer of the Year Virat Kohli when his nation makes its test debut against India in June.