COLOMBO: India's rising star Virat Kohli won the ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year Award at a glittering ceremony in Colombo, on Saturday.
Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara also made it an evening to remember with three awards, winning ICC honours for Cricketer of the Year, Test Cricketer of the Year, and LG's Popular Choice Award.
Kohli plundered 1733 runs at 66.65 in 31 ODIs in the past season, and perfected the art of chasing down totals for India with eight centuries, with a highest of 183 against Pakistan in the Asia Cup.
“I think I have tried to keep things as simple as possible and it’s worked for me on the field. This year has been a learning curve along the way from the seniors in the team. It’s been an all-round effort and I’m very happy to have won this award."
“It’s always nice to be recognized by the ICC and it’s a great feeling and it’s the first time I’ve won one of these awards and it feels great,” said Kohli
He beat teammate MS Dhoni, slinger Lasith Malinga and the prolific Kumar Sangakkara to the award.
Sanga's triple treat
Sangakkara however took home the Cricketer of the Year Award winning the coveted Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the first time.
He also claimed the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year, having garnered 1444 runs at 60.16 with five hundreds in 14 Tests in the last season.
Sangakkara received the Test award from batting legend Brian Lara. "I’m continuing to ensure I am consistent and I need to keep raising the bar each year and keep trying harder and harder to ensure I keep playing good Test cricket. It’s a constant battle but I have the support of a great team that helps me to do the best I can," said the Lankan southpaw.
The Lankan edged out tough competitors in the form of Australia captain Michael Clarke, South Africa opener Hashim Amla and his teammate and fast-bowler Vernon Philander.
Sangakkara also won the LG People’s Choice Award - for the second consecutive time - while his countryman Kumar Dharamsena won the David Shepherd Trophy for the ICC Umpire of the Year.
Narine on track
West Indies mystery spinner Sunil Narine was given the ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year award. Narine, who snared 12 wickets on Test debut against England in 2012, pipped New Zealand fast bowler Doug Bracewell, Sri Lanka batsman Dinesh Chandimal, and Australia quick James Pattinson to the honour.
The 24-year-old also has 28 wickets at 18.82 in in 15 ODIs and 7 Twenty20 victims in five matches.
“We’ve a good junior set-up so hopefully the awards keep coming for us. I think this has been the best 12 months for me and I just keep adapting the best as possible. Hopefully I can keep going the best I can and keep competing for the West Indies," Narine said.
“I need to digest this and this one step at time and enjoy every minute that I play. This award means a lot for me and it’s an encouragement to keep going and continue to improve. I dedicate this award to my father who kept pushing me, who took me to the Queen’s Park Oval regularly and told me I would have my moment and I’d like to thank him for his help and all my family who support me,” he added.
Levi sizzles in T20
South Africa's dashing batsman Richard Levi was given the ICC T20 Performance of the Year Award for his blinding 117 not out off just 51 balls agianst New Zealand at Auckland. Levi hit an unbelievable 13 sixes in the knock.
“I don’t remember much of the innings but I regularly get reminded of it. When any sportsman performs well, with T20 cricket it either comes off or it doesn’t and for me it came off that day. I’m looking forward to playing Sri Lanka when the ICC World Twenty20 gets underway," said Levi.
Lara in Hall of Fame, Vettori gets fairplay
Meanwhile, West Indies legend Brian Lara and England's woman cricketer Enid Bakewell were inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.
New Zealand's gentleman skipper Daniel Vettori was awarded the ICC Fairplay Award. During the first Test against Zimbabwe in November 2011 at Bulwayo, Vettori decided not to appeal for a run-out after he had blocked a batsman's path.
"It was the right thing to do at the time and we as a team try and play with the right spirit of cricket. It’s hard to define the spirit of cricket, but go out on the field with the general mind sight to play the game in the right way and always in the right frame of mind," said Vettori.
The other winners
The ICC Associate and Affiliate Cricketer of the Year Award winner was Ireland's George Dockrell.Sarah Taylor of England won the ICC Women’s T20 Cricketer of the Year Award, while Stafanie Taylor of West Indies won the ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year Award.
The long-list of nominations was chosen by a five-man ICC selection panel chaired by former West Indies captain and current chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee Clive Lloyd. The panel also includes former international players Sri Lanka's Marvan Atapattu, Clare Connor of England, Carl Hooper of West Indies and Tom Moody of Australia.