Ravi Shastri, the India head coach, said his captain Virat Kohli’s sweep of all three individual International Cricket Council awards in 2018 was something “special” and that it wasn’t likely to be repeated.
Kohli, the India skipper, became the first player to win the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year, ICC Test Cricketer of the Year as well as ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year last month. The 30-year-old was also named captain of both the Test and ODI teams of the year.
“Starting with the ICC awards [sweep], I don’t think anyone will ever do it again,” Shastri told Cricbuzz. “It is something very rare because you need two things to happen to win all awards in a single year: You need to be a captain of a very good cricket team across formats, that allows you to win two awards, as the best captain of the ICC Test team and the ICC ODI team.
“So, obviously, your team is one of the best in the world and it has never happened in Indian cricket before. So an Indian captain gets it, and I want to focus on those two awards more than the personal awards that he has won. You will not get a repeat of that in these two biggest formats of the game.”
Kohli boasts an average of 53.76 in Test cricket, which gets even better when he is the captain – 62.70. Of his 25 Test hundreds, 18 have come with him at the helm. Shastri heaped praise on Kohli’s ability to thrive as a leader and believes he is cut from the same cloth as greats like Sir Vivian Richards and Imran Khan.
“To carry that kind of pressure of captaincy and clean up all the individual ICC awards as well is phenomenal,” he said. “We have had great players who struggled to handle pressure when they were captain. Then we had some captains who didn’t know what number to bat at – when they are good enough to go at No.3, but they chose to go at six or seven.
“But here is a guy who is as dominant as Sir Vivian Richards. The closest I have seen to the great man. Virat is in your face, he wants to dominate and has a work ethic like no one else. Whether it comes to discipline, training, sacrifice or self-denial, it is unbelievable.
“I think India is lucky to have a leader of that sort. He reminds me of Imran Khan in many ways – in the way he sets the example and sets the standards, and goes about defining it in his own way and leading from the front. Virat is special, absolutely special, for someone to get runs in dominant fashion in South Africa, in Australia and in England.
“England was icing on the cake. Here’s a guy who has got 140 runs in 10 innings [in 2014] and then gets 590 runs with two masters of bowling in James Anderson and Stuart Broad. You won’t get better than that with the Dukes ball. And to get those runs as captain in a team that is being beaten is phenomenal.”