Ben Stokes was named the International Cricket Council (ICC) player of the year on Wednesday, capping an unforgettable 2019 for the swashbuckling England all-rounder that included a match-winning knock at the World Cup.
Stokes was the unanimous choice for the coveted Sir Garfield Sobers trophy — thanks to his unbeaten 84 in a dramatic final against New Zealand in July followed by a brilliant 135 not out to win the third Ashes Test against Australia six weeks later in Leeds.
Stokes (28) said it was a huge honour for any cricketer to receive such an award: “To be recognised and be the person to win that (award); it’s pretty amazing,” he said in a video statement.
During the voting period, Stokes aggregated 719 runs and bagged 12 wickets in 20 ODIs. He also scored 821 runs and took 22 wickets in 11 Tests.
Indian opener Rohit Sharma was named the ODI cricketer of the year and captain Virat Kohli bagged the Spirit of Cricket award for his gesture to stop fans from booing Australia’s Steve Smith during a World Cup match.
Smith was returning to international cricket from a one-year suspension for changing the condition of the ball (while in South Africa).
“I’m surprised that I have got it, after many years of being under the scanner for the wrong things,” Kohli said in a statement put out by ICC.
“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.”
Kohli was also named captain of both the ICC Test and ODI teams of the year.
In other major awards, Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins was named the Test player of the year and teammate Marnus Labuschagne was declared emerging cricketer of the year. —AFP