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ESPNcricinfo named Virat Kohli as the skipper of the year

Stokes, Broad, De Kock and Narine are also awarded for their good show

By Aditya Pratap Arya -

Indian Test captain Virat Kohli is enjoying phase in his captaincy career, until the latest wake-up call from the Kangaroos, who have announced their arrival in their very own fashion. However, Kohli got rewarded for his exceptional leadership qualities as he has been named the captain of the year in the annual award ceremony of India’s prominent cricket’s digital media platform ESPNcricinfo. He led India to their longest unbeaten test streak of 19-test matches, which also took India to the top spot in the ICC test ranking. Also, He was well ahead of his other counterparts with his bat, as he notched up three double-centuries in the last year.

Ben Stokes, the ‘Richie-Rich’ from the recent IPL auction, received the Test batting award for his 198-ball 258 in the Cape Town test against South Africa, it is also the second fastest test double-ton. His fellow teammate Stuart Broad has retained his test bowling award for his match-winning effort in the Jo’berg Test, where he took 6 for 17 and dismissed the hosts for 83 to seal the series for his team. He won the same award in the previous year for his career best figure of 8 for 15 in the Ashes Test held at the Trent Bridge.

Quinton De Kock's 178 earned him the One-Day International batting award, which he played against the mighty Kangaroos to lead his team for a 5-0 whitewash. De Kock also won the ODI player of the year award in the annual ICC awards. The bowling performance in the One-Day International cricket belonged to West Indies lad Sunil Narine, who registered 6/27 in his comeback match at Guyana against South Africa.

The previous year was the T20 World Cup year and it makes that year an exciting on for the T20 International award category. An inning which can also mark as the fortune changer for both teams involving in that match got the T20I batting award. We are talking about the Braithwaite’s breathtaking four consecutive sixes in the final of the World T20 at Eden Gardens. The same award category in the women’s cricket also went to a West Indian girl for her heroics in the final of the World T20. The 18-year-old Hayley Matthews, who smashed a fifty to lead his team to a glorious world triumph, received this honor.

The bowlers saw a very difficult last year as several batsmen were having a purple patch in that period, especially the kind of form Virat Kohli was having, he destroyed almost every bowling line-up in the last year. Despite this, one Bangladeshi bowler was untouched of this fact and bowled exceptionally well against New Zealand in the World T20 to register a five-fer, which also earned him the award for the best T20I bowling. In the women cricket, New Zealand’s off-spinner Leigh Kasperek won the same award for her 3 for 13 in a six-wicket win in a World T20 group game against Australia.

The debutant of this year went to an all-rounder, who first impressed in the Youth cricket World Cup last year before making a dream Test debut against England in the two-match Test series. The young Mehedi Hasan Raza secured this award into his cabin. He snared 19 wickets in his debut series including three six-fers in his first four innings in the Test arena.

ESPNcricinfo announced another category of awards this year, as they introduced the Associate awards for the best batting and bowling performances in the last year. Afghanistan did a clean sweep in this list as they secure both awards. Wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Shahzad has rewarded for his explosive batting against Zimbabwe in a T20 International, where he made 118 runs in the 81-run win. Mohammad Nabi, who recently became the first Afghani player to get an IPL deal, won the bowling award for his figures of 10-3-16-2 in the ODI match against the host Bangladesh. His efforts were enough to win that match for his country.

These awards are taking place since the previous ten years as ESPNcricinfo names the best performances in the game from the last year.  The jury for this year's awards included Ian Chappell, Mahela Jayawardene, Courtney Walsh, Mark Butcher, Ramiz Raja, and ESPNcricinfo's senior writers and editors.

“The ESPNcricinfo Awards are about meaning and context. So we are chuffed a ten-ball innings sits beside a score of 258 in the list of winners. There is delight and irony in the fact that these two performances belong to Carlos Brathwaite and Ben Stokes, whose names will be forever entwined for those dramatic four balls in the World T20 final. It's also our great pleasure to introduce winners from women and Associates cricket in the tenth year of the awards. We should have had them earlier, but it's not too late to make amends,” Sambit Bal, editor-in-chief of ESPNcricinfo said.

Aditya Pratap Arya

One life, One love. Cricket