The current cut-off period for ICC Awards is between January to December of the same year. So, if ICC awards are being given in 2020, the jury will value the performance of cricketers from 1st January 2019 to 31st December 2019.
The last ICC Awards were announced on 22th January 2019. Virat Kohli had clean swept all the prominent awards given in men’s cricket. Kohli had won the awards for Cricketer of The Year, ODI Cricketer of The Year and Test Cricketer of The Year. India’s Rishabh Pant was given ICC Emerging player of the Year award while Australian limited overs captain Aaron Finch had received the award for Best T20 performance in 2018.
4 Cricketers who could win the 2019 Cricketer of The Year Award
This award can also be called Ballon d’Or of Cricket as it is the ultimate award given in this game. A total of 56 individuals put forward their picks and the player with most number of votes wins the award. The 56 members include 10 captains of Test playing nations, 18 ICC elite panel umpires & referees and 28 former cricketers.
We rank 4 players who are the strongest candidates to win this award.
4. Rohit Sharma
If 2019 was the year of Ben Stokes, Rohit Sharma made sure he had a 50% stake in it. 10 International 100s, leading run scorer in ODIs and second most international run scorer in the entire year validates his achievements in the year 2019.
In ODIs : 1490 runs at an average of 57.30
In Tests : 556 runs at an average of 92.66
In T20Is :396 runs at an average of 28 & Strike Rate of 138
Much like Cummins who is in the list of candidates at a relatively higher position, we got to see the excellence of Rohit Sharma more in one format although it’s a different thing he played only 5 Tests this year. Rohit had a phenomenal World Cup with 5 100s and 648 runs at an average of 81. 3 out of his 5 100s came against quality bowling attacks although you can’t take anything away from him for scoring the other two against SL and Bangladesh as you can only play whoever is in front of you.
Putting the WC aside, Indian team played 5 other ODI series in 2019. In 3 of those series, Rohit averaged 40 or less than it. That’s when you understand the importance of breaking down the performances rather than going by the simple numbers. For his credit, he did score a gritty century in Australia in January last year and he ended the year with a dazzling 100 against WI.
In Test Cricket though, he played only 5 Tests where scored 3 100s including a double hundred against a very fine South African bowling attack but that was it! That was the only series he had to show as a Test batsman this year as he failed to score runs against Bangladesh. His T20 record looked good with 4 50s but he lacked consistency with failing to score anything of much significance in 10 out of his 14 innings. Rohit might be the strongest contender for ICC ODI Cricketer of The Year award because of his dreamy WC outcomes but he ranks low in the race for Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy.
3. Virat Kohli
The recipient of all the major ICC Awards in 2018 had a very fine 2019 as well despite not being at his usual best. ” Not being at his usual best ” is why he isn’t a frontrunner for the Garfield Sobers Trophy this time but he does challenge the other contenders very strongly.
In Tests : 612 runs at an average of 68
In ODIs : 1377 runs at an average of 59.86
In T20Is : 466 runs at an average of 77 and strike rate of 147
Kohli ended the year 2019 by being the highest cumulative run scorer in International cricket. He scored 2455 runs at an average of 64.60 in all 3 formats combined. Let’s break down his performances in 2019.
Kohli started the year with a 100 in Australia which he followed by 2 more when Australia came to India for a return series. Kohli didn’t disappoint in the World Cup as well as he went on to score 443 runs despite not being able to score any century. He was very consistent with his performances and scored 5 half centuries in 9 group games. Once the WC got over, he toured WI and scored a couple of hundreds there too. His only bad series in ODI Cricket came at the end of the year against West Indies when he missed out on scoring 2 out of 3 times. India played 5 series and a World Cup in the year 2019 and Kohli averaged over 49 in 5 of them.
His unfruitful returns in Test cricket away from home is something which made us rank him below Cummins at 3 in the contenders list. Kohli averaged 68 in Test cricket with a gigantic 254* against SA and a very fine 100 against Bangladesh in the pink ball test. He was as good as anyone at home but his average was only 32 in the 3 away Tests he played last year. Although he covers up his not so great year in Tests with his blistering T20 performances. Kohli played 10 T20 innings and he crossed 50 in 5 of them and that too a great pace, as suggested by his strike rate of 147. He scored with unreal consistency in a format which is not ideal for maintaining consistency.
2. Pat Cummins
Australian vice captain and the number 1 ranked Test bowler had a prolific 2019 with him finishing as the leading wicket taker in Test cricket. He hardly missed a match for Australia and bowled with relentless consistency and effect irrespective of the conditions. Most of his laurels came with the red ball which makes him the strongest contender for Test Cricketer of The Year award. Cummins was the leading wicket taker in Ashes with 29 wickets at an average of only 19.
In Test Cricket : 59 Wickets at an average of 20.13 and Strike rate of 44.7
In ODIs : 31 Wickets at an average of 21 and Economy of 4.73
In T20Is : 9 Wickets with an economy of 6.62
With 99 Wickets in the year, Cummins made 2019 a year to remember. He did most of the damage in Test Cricket as mentioned above. Apart from Ashes, he took 14 wickets at an average of 7.73 against Sri Lanka and finished the year at a high again with 12 wickets against New Zealand.
While his performances in Test cricket are humongous, what makes his case weaker than Ben Stokes is his ODI performance. The numbers might suggest he had a fine year but if you dig a little deep, a lot of his 31 ODI wickets were either of tailenders or they came when batsmen tried to slog him. He wasn’t penetrative enough in this format and played only a second fiddle to Mitchell Starc throughout the World Cup with only 4 of his 14 wickets coming against stronger teams in the entire tournament. Earlier against India in Feb-March, he had a great series where he took 14 wickets at an average of 15 although only 5 of those wickets came when batsmen tried not to slog him.
1. Ben Stokes
2019 was the year of English All-rounder Ben Stokes. None will ever forget the two of the most incredible innings he played last year. World Cup Final at Lords and his unbelievable 100 at Headingley which was an even more special effort to secure England two of their most memorable wins ever deserve a recognition in itself but they alone are not sufficient to win an ICC Award.
With Bat : 1540 runs at an average of 51.33 ( 719 in ODIs at 60 and 821 in Tests at 45)
With Ball : 34 wickets ( 22 in Tests at 35 and 12 in ODIs at 44 and economy of 5.69)
Didn’t play any T20I Cricket in 2019
Breaking down the numbers
Most of his ODI runs and wickets came during the World Cup which is highly significant considering the pressure factor involved as one of the most important players of the host nation. Stokes scored 5 half centuries in 10 innings of that WC, all of which came at critical times and against good opponents. 3 of his 50s won England the match,including the final while 2 of those (against SL and Aus) can be called perfect lone warrior knocks. Apart from the WC where he scored 465 runs at an average of 66, he had the average of 64 and 41 in the two series against Pakistan and West Indies respectively.
In Test cricket again, Stokes rose to the occasion at the biggest of events and his match winning 100 at Headingley will go down as one of the greatest innings of all time. His impact can be measured by the fact that England won only 3 Tests against stronger opponents in the entire 2019 and Stokes contributed with 2 half centuries and a century in those Tests. Stokes as a bowler played a vital cog as well as he took 22 Test wickets, out of which only 4 were of tailenders.
Predictions for other awards
- ICC Test Player of The Year : Pat Cummins
- ICC ODI Player of The Year : Rohit Sharma/Ben Stokes/Virat Kohli
- ICC Emerging Player of The Year : Marnus Labuschagne/Jofra Archer
- ICC Player of The Decade : Virat Kohli
- ICC Spirit of Cricket Moment Award : Virat Kohli for his gesture in 2019 WC