ICC Awards 2018: After leading India to historic triumph in Down Under, Virat Kohli has been named as the skipper of ‘ICC Test Team of the Year’, which comprised three players from New Zealand and India, and one player each from Sri Lanka, Windies, South Africa, Australia, and Pakistan. Kohli was also the leading run-scorer in Tests in 2018. He scored mind-boggling 1322 runs from 13 Tests at an impressive average of 55.08. It came via five centuries and five half-centuries.
Incredibly, this is the third consecutive year since 2016 that Kohli has accumulated more than 1000 runs in a calendar year. The 30-year old was the highest scorer in India’s Test series against South Africa and England and scored 200 runs in a Test match twice during the five-Test series in England. Under his leadership, India ended a 71-year wait for a series win in Australia (the result was confirmed in early 2019).
Apart from Kohli, young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant also had a breakout year in cricket’s most traditional format. Not only did he make his Test debut and cement his position as India’s new first-choice wicket-keeper in the format His maiden Test ton in a fourth innings chase at the Oval against England established Pant as a reliable lower-order batsman. Pant’s flamboyant batting – he likes clearing the ropes and taking on bowlers – established him as a dangerous proposition for any opposition.
The 21-year old also scored a century in Sydney (it came just after the turn of the year), and became the only Indian wicket-keeper to score a Test ton in England and Australia. He scored 537 runs from eight Tests in the year at 38.35, while batting mostly at No.7 – these were more than decent numbers.
Without a doubt, Jasprit Bumrah turned out to be the find for Team India as far as red-ball cricket is concerned. After making his debut versus South Africa in Cape Town, Bumrah established established himself as a all-format bowler. He took 48 wickets from 10 Tests at 21.02 and played crucial roles in the four away Test wins for India in 2018. Five-wicket hauls in Johannesburg and Trent Bridge were followed late in the year with another five-for in Melbourne.