If we’re going to (correctly) give Virat Kohli an award every year then at least give it for the year’s best bit of Virat Kohli-ing

Virat Kohli PA

This year’s announcement of the ICC men’s award winners should have been pretty straightforward.

There were plenty of clear winners. We all know that #stokesissobers and now Big Ben has the trophy to prove it. Hard to argue with his 2019.

Rohit Sharma got the ODI player of the year award. He scored seven hundreds against seven different countries. Fair enough.

Pat Cummins is so handsome that giving him shiny awards as well just feels ridiculously unfair on the rest of us but beyond our own petty insecurities his Test award is hard to argue with.

And we all know that the Associate Player of the Year award just goes to one that most of the panel have heard of. Scotland’s turn again this year, and Kyle Coetzer gets a gong that his career – if not particularly his 2019 – fully deserved. And at least he is an associate cricketer…

But dropped in among all this was the spirit of cricket award. It went to Virat Kohli for that time in the summer when he told the fans to stop booing Steve Smith. Hmm.

Now I have issues with spirit of cricket awards on principle. That principle being that the spirit of cricket doesn’t exist, any more than the spirit of golf exists or the spirit of tiddlywinks.

And if there is a spirit of cricket – in the sense of “yay cricket is just the bestest” that the ICC intend – then the ICC deciding the best example of it was one multimillionaire telling ordinary ticket-buying fans how they can and can’t react to another multimillionaire is crass and accidentally quite revealing.

To make one brief detour into seriousness, if you are having an award for something as nebulous as the spirit of cricket, then it should have gone to Ian Smith for that World Cup final commentary stint.

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But back to the point. In 2018, Kohli won the cricketer, Test cricketer and ODI cricketer awards. In 2017, Kohli won the cricketer of the year and the ODI cricketer award. In 2016, there was the incident with the pigeon. I think Virat Kohli got this made-up nonsense award for 2019 because an ICC awards without a gong for Virat Kohli is like an unheard

tree falling in the woods: fucking pointless.

And that makes sense, to be fair. Virat Kohli is absolutely fantastic. An all-time great batsman and cricketer who, even as he grows into his role as a genuine statesman of the game, remains gloriously prone to getting involved in wonderful nonsense. Just today, he has dropped back to two demerit points having spent the last four months flirting a dangerous one demerit point short of a ban after making “avoidable shoulder contact” with South Africa’s Beuran Hendricks. That’s our Virat Kohli, not the vanilla, sanitised fiction the ICC are peddling.

So. Having thus established that an annual Virat Kohli Award is undoubtedly a good and worthy thing, and also far better than this concocted spirit of cricket bumwater, let’s all agree to do it properly and award it for the most Virat Kohli thing he does each year, rather than, in this case, the least.

Therefore, this year’s Virat Kohli Award goes to Virat Kohli for mimicking Kesrick Williams’ notebook celebration after twatting him for six that time.

Congratulations, Virat. And good luck to everyone for 2020’s Virat Kohli Award. Can’t wait to see what Virat has lined up to knock early pacesetter Jos Buttler off his perch.