ICC recently bestowed many cricketers for their impressive show throughout 2019. Ben Stokes garnered much attention after he won the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the ICC Player of the Year for delivering match-winning performances in crucial situations.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli also clinched the Spirit of Cricket Award. He won the award for his gesture at the World Cup, when he urged the crowd on to support Steve Smith rather than booing him. Smith had to endure many boos and criticism after his return to international cricket from a one-year suspension for the infamous ball-tampering incident. Along with Spirit of the Cricket Award, Kohli has also been named as the captain of both the ICC Test and ODI teams of the year.
Kohli also hogged the limelight last year by winning the Player of the Year and Test Player of the Year and ODI Player. However, the Indian skipper was surprised to win the Spirit of Cricket Award this year. The 31-year-old also highlighted why he backed Smith in the situation where he was getting booed from the crowd. Kohli stressed on the fact that his moment with Smith was a part of the camaraderie that sportsmen must have with each other.
“I’m surprised that I have got it, after many years of being under the scanner for the wrong things. It is part of camaraderie that sportsmen must have with each other. That moment was purely understanding an individual’s situation.
I don’t think a guy who is coming out of a situation like that needs to be taken advantage of. You can sledge, can have banter on the field, you say things to the opposition in wanting to beat them. But booing someone is not in the spirit of any sport, I don’t endorse it,” said Virat Kohli after winning the award.
“Also, that should not be a representation of our fans and what we stand as a cricketing nation, a sporting nation. We need to all take responsibility towards that. Intimidate the opposition, definitely try and have an upper hand but in a matter that is not targeting someone emotionally. That is not acceptable at any level and people should be wary of that,” added the Indian skipper.