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General News Kohli, Ashwin bag top honours at BCCI Awards

Virat Kohli became the first player to win the prestigious Polly Umrigar Award for the third time when he walked away with the coveted title at the BCCI Annual Awards ceremony on Wednesday (March 8).

The Indian captain, who had previously been bestowed with the honour in 2011-12 and in 2014-15, won for his stellar performances during the 2015-16 season. Kohli sparkled in all forms of the game, winning the Player of the Tournament award at the World T20 in early 2016. He also stamped his class in ODIs against South Africa and Australia during that season while also registering his maiden Test double century against the West Indies in Antigua.

"It's been quite unbelievable, the last 10-12 months. As cricketers, you always have breakthrough years. Starting late 2015 to end of 2016... probably I could recall when I get older as the breakthrough as my career," Kohli said. "All the hard work, all the training, all the sacrifices came together nicely.

"[The achievement] couldn't have been possible without the help of my teammates throughout. Sometimes, when you don't do well, is when champion players in your side step up. That's why we are the top side in the world at the moment. It's a great honour receiving this for the third time," added Kohli.

Kohli reaffirmed that it is his self belief that has always driven him to success. "Along the way, early in my career, there have been people who have doubted the way I've gone about my game. Even now there are doubters and haters are all around, but one thing is for sure that I've always believed in myself."

Meanwhile, ace offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin bagged the Dilip Sardesai Award for the second time - with the latest laurel coming for his Man of the Series performance on the tour of West Indies in 2016. Ashwin, who scored two hundreds while also picking up 17 wickets in the four-match series last year, staved off competition to be adjudged as best performer in a bilateral series.

"Most of what we've done through the season culminated in the West Indies. We had a team meeting in this very hotel before we left for the West Indies and Virat said one thing: 'If this team can achieve something special, it's because of the fact that we can create some great memories'," Ashwin said in his acceptance speech.

"We prepared a charter here. Our coach [Anil Kumble] is also here. When we embarked on that particular tour, everything was happy. It was a great start. We created more memories than playing great cricket there.

"With regards to the love affair against West Indies... I think sometimes when you step on to the field and you know that you've done well against a team, the edges also don't carry to the fielders," Ashwin added.

The event that was attended by spin wizards like Bishan Singh Bedi and Erapalli Prasanna among a plethora of other Indian greats, had a lasting impact on Ashwin. "I just heard the numbers of Mr. Prasanna and Mr. Bedi and I think I'll have to add my gully cricket wickets if I have to get near them. Those are like insane numbers. I don't think I'll ever be able to get there.

"But I mean, the stories of Mr. Prasanna getting the ball to hang in the air and him actually using a rope to get the ball to dip on the batsman are some sort of a folklore in India. To actually carry that tradition forward is a great honour for me," concluded Ashwin.

BCCI also bestowed two domestic spin legends of the country, Rajinder Goel and Padmakar Shivalkar, with the Col. C.K. Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award. Both the spinners still feature among the top-wicket takers in the history of Ranji Trophy.

Shantha Rangaswamy became the first woman recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award - recognised for her stellar contribution towards making Indian cricket richer.

Full list of awardees...

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Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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