Virat Kohli had a marvelous 2019, and on Wednesday, he was rewarded with the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ award by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The Indian captain got the prize for his gesture towards the crowd in a World Cup game against Australia, urging the fans not to boo Steve Smith.
After winning the award, the 31-year-old said that he was surprised to receive this recognition after remaining under the scanner for the wrong things.
In a video posted by the official Twitter handle of ICC, Kohli explained the reason for backing Smith in that match. He said, “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. I think you can sledge, can have banter on the field, you say things to the opposition in terms of wanting to beat them. But booing someone I don’t think is in the spirit of any sport, I don’t endorse it.”
— ICC (@ICC) January 15, 2020
Pakistan’s fast bowler Mohammad Amir reacted to Kohli’s response after winning the award. He responded to ICC’s video and tweeted, “Great words from a great player.”
Great words from great player
— Mohammad Amir (@iamamirofficial) January 15, 2020
A few years back, the Delhi-born player described Amir as one of the toughest bowlers to bat against in international cricket. Both played against each other in the 2019 Cricket World Cup (CWC) game, where India managed to defeat Pakistan by 89-runs. Soon after the completion of the CWC, Amir announced his retirement from Test cricket.
Apart from the award, Kohli was also named the skipper of ICC’s Test and ODI teams of the year.