January 3, 2018
Graphics by Girish TS
ESPNcricinfo’s staff picked their Test, ODI, T20 and women’s teams of the year. Do they resemble yours?
India were the No. 1 Test side through 2018, but only one Indian, the unstoppable Virat Kohli, makes it to ESPNcricinfo’s Test team of the year. Meanwhile No. 8-ranked West Indies are represented by two players: fast bowler Shannon Gabriel and their captain, Jason Holder, whose wish to be seen as a genuine allrounder came true in 2018 with a batting average of 37.33 and a bowling average of 12.39. But the team that grabbed three spots in our Test XI is New Zealand, who played only seven matches last year. Kane Williamson led them to a historic and thrilling series win in the UAE, and so will ably lead our side in all sorts of
imaginary challenging conditions. If he wins the toss (he did five times in 2018) and bats first, he will send out his team-mate Tom Latham to face the new ball, alongside Sri Lanka’s Dimuth Karunaratne, the leading run scorer among openers in 2018.
Latham’s 264 not out was the highest score in a year in which openers averaged a very lean 28.5.
Now, a contentious choice: Jos Buttler is our man behind the stumps, though he kept in only one Test (plus half of another as a replacement for Jonny Bairstow). However, as a batsman, he made seven 50-plus scores, so he’ll shore up the lower order well along with Holder.
Buttler, in fact, makes it to all three men’s teams of the year. In ODIs, he walks in at No. 7, below Rohit Sharma (who, bewilderingly, didn’t make a double-hundred in 2018), Bairstow, Kohli, Ross Taylor, Shai Hope and Joe Root. In T20s (internationals and domestic), he’ll open the innings with Aaron Finch and keep wicket to Andrew Tye, Andre Russell, Kuldeep Yadav, Jofra Archer and Rashid Khan.
New Zealand’s Colin Munro can also chip in with the ball in T20s – he says he has developed a knuckleball – although, in our team, he’ll be mainly used to get the big runs, like he did for CPL champions Trinbago Knight Riders in 2018.
Last year, Harmanpreet Kaur made headlines for her career-defining 171 not out in the World Cup semi-final. In 2018, it was for a spectacular hundred – the first in T20Is by an Indian woman – against New Zealand at the World T20. She captains our combined ODI and T20I women’s team, which includes Smriti Mandhana, who made eight 50-plus scores in 12 ODI innings, and Suzie Bates, who top-scored with 151 in the world-record ODI total (in men’s and women’s cricket) of 491 that New Zealand made against Ireland last June. Legspinner Poonam Yadav, the leading wicket-taker in ODIs and T20Is for the year, makes up the bowling attack, along with fast bowlers Megan Schutt, Shabnim Ismail and Ellyse Perry.
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.