India captain Virat Kohli has been named to lead ICC's ODI Team of the Year, which features four players each from India and England.
England and India are ranked No.1 and No.2 on the MRF Tyres ICC Men's ODI Team rankings. So dominant were the sides in 2018 that together they make up more than two-thirds of the ODI Team of the Year announced on Tuesday, 22 January.
Kohli was named captain as he led India to nine wins from the 14 games he played. Overall, India won 14 games and lost just four, while being involved in a couple of tied matches.
England too enjoyed a similarly stellar record in 2018, winning 17 times out of 24 matches, winning every series barring a one-off ODI against Scotland.
The roaring success of these teams was built around consistent performances from a variety of players, who in turn find a place on the dream XI for the year. The list also features players from New Zealand, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Let's have a look at how the players included did in 2018:
Rohit Sharma (India): The Indian opener was in red-hot form, finishing second on the table for most runs, behind only Kohli. He scored 1030 runs from 19 innings at an average of 73.57 and strike-rate of 100.09. His exploits consisted of five centuries and three fifties. It is also important to note that he lead India to the Asia Cup 2018 title, captaining superbly in the absence of Kohli.
Jonathan Bairstow (England): Opening for England, Bairstow was the most prolific run-scorer for his team in 2018 and third overall behind the two Indians. From 22 innings at the top, he made 1025 runs at an average of 46.59, while striking at an unbelievable 118.22 – the highest for anyone who scored over 500 runs in the year. His numbers feature four centuries and two fifties.
Virat Kohli (India, captain): The Indian skipper reaches unfathomable heights every year. In 2018, he played just 14 ODIs and still topped the run-scoring charts with 1202 runs – including six centuries and three fifties – at a mind-boggling average of 133.55. It is fair to say that he led from the front and thus earned the right to captain the ODI side of the year.
Joe Root (England): If Bairstow provided England with flair at the top of the order, Root was the anchor in the middle. He scored 946 runs from 24 innings at 59.12 including three centuries and five fifties. Considering that his primary role was to build partnerships in the middle-order, his strike-rate of 83.93 isn't too bad either. His winning efforts in the big series against India were deserving of that famous bat drop.
Ross Taylor (New Zealand): The New Zealand stalwart has been in phenomenal form in the 50-over format. He scored 639 runs from just 10 innings at an average of 91.28 while striking at 88.87. His highest score was a knock of 181* to guide New Zealand to a five-wicket win over England in chase of 336. He made one century apart from that as well as four fifties.
Jos Buttler (England, wk): The wicket-keeper batsman provided the late flourishes with the bat for England. He made two centuries and four fifties in 2018, scoring 671 runs at an average of 51.61 and a strike-rate of 113.53. In addition, he was the most prolific wicket-keeper in the year, taking 26 catches and nine stumpings for a grand total of 35 dismissals.
Ben Stokes (England): In at No.7 is England's all-rounder Stokes. He scored 313 runs at an average of 44.71, including three fifties from just 10 innings. In terms of wickets, he didn't particularly excel. He took five wickets from 11 bowling innings, but his economy rate of 5.91 shows that he can hold his own in the bowling attack, while also adding crucial depth to the batting line-up.
Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh): The Bangladesh fast bowler enjoyed good form in 2018, picking up 29 wickets at an average of 21.72. In the Asia Cup 2018, he picked up 10 wickets at 18.50 to finish as the joint highest wicket-taker with Rashid Khan and Kuldeep Yadav, who also feature in this team. His ability to swing the ball coupled with his bag of wily slower ones makes him a fine ODI bowler.
Rashid Khan (Afghanistan): The young Afghanistan leg-spinner continued to impress in 2018. In fact, he finished the year as the leading wicket-taker in ODIs with a grand total of 48 scalps at 14.45. In addition to that, he conceded runs at a miserly 3.89. His ability to make an impact is highlighted by the fact that he went wicketless in only one of his 20 bowling innings. Apart from the Asia Cup, he was also the joint-leading wicket-taker in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018, propelling his team to a berth in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup in 2019.
Kuldeep Yadav (India): India's left-arm wrist-spinner proved to be a purist's delight. He was unafraid to toss the ball up at slow pace, foxing many a batsman with flight and turn. He picked up 45 wickets from his 19 matches at 17.77. Impressively, he managed to make an impact across a variety of conditions, including in England and South Africa.
Jasprit Bumrah (India): The India fast bowler made big strides in Test cricket in 2018, but not at the expense of his ODI performances. If anything, he only got better as his 13 innings yielded him a rich haul of 22 wickets at 16.63. His economy rate of a meagre 3.62 is the lowest for anyone who took at least 20 wickets. His ability to bowl at high pace and mix it up with deceptive slower balls made him the complete package.
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