With the ICC Cricket World Cup lurking around the corner, cricketers were eager to impress with their performances in ODIs in 2018.
While some players were unable to leave a mark, others were consistent and had a memorable outing last year. Here is the ODI XI of 2018.
The Indian was one of the best openers in 2018, with 1030 runs at an average of 73.75. He started off the year with a composed 115 against South Africa in the Rainbow Nation, and continued his form in England as well, with a knock of 137. Three more hundreds followed – one in the Asia Cup and two against Windies – as Rohit capped off a memorable year. He also led the Indian team to the Asia Cup triumph in the absence of Virat Kohli.
Also Read: 5 lesser known facts about Rohit Sharma
Rohit’s partner for India, Dhawan is the other opener in my squad. The left-hander had a phenomenal start to 2018, scoring two fifties and a ton against the South Africans. Though he was unable to touch 50 in the ODIs in England, Dhawan scored at a strike-rate of above 113, which helped provide his team with the desired starts. Dhawan ended the year with two hundred in the Asia Cup, which took his run tally to 897 runs at an average of just below 50.
Kohli, once again, had a phenomenal year in 2018. The Indian skipper was in fine form against the South Africans, scoring three hundred and a fifty in the 6-match series. He managed to score a 50 and a 45 against England as well and ended 2018 by becoming the first Indian captain to score three successive hundreds – a record he achieved against West Indies. He will also lead the side.
Taylor played only 11 games in 2018 as New Zealand did not have many international commitments, but he ensured to leave his mark in the limited opportunities, scoring at an average of 91.28 in the games. He smashed two hundred and four fifties in 11 innings and was one of the silent performers of the year.
With a batting average of 39.56 and a bowling average of 29.50, Raza forces his way into the ODI XI of 2018. He started off the year by scoring two half-centuries against Bangladesh and ended the year with two 40+ scores against the same opponents. He even nullified the impact of Rashid Khan when Zimbabwe took on Afghanistan in the World Cup Qualifiers last year, which shows his value to the side. His off-spin can be handy as well.
The Englishman had a year to remember, producing important cameos and playing the role of an anchor when needed. Though he scored his runs at a strike-rate of 113.53, he also has the temperament of holding an innings together and playing the waiting game, as he illustrated during the fifth ODI against Australia, when his side needed 206 to win. After England had been reduced to 50 for 5, the keeper held his nerves to guide his side to a nerve-wracking 1-wicket win.
The Sri Lankan was one of the surprise performers of 2018. With a batting average of 34.58 and a strike-rate of 115.59 along with a bowling average of 20.72, Perera ensured he was the lone consistent player in his side.
Unsurprisingly, the Afghan spinner was in the news throughout 2018 for bamboozling opponents and scalping 48 wickets in just 20 games. He left his mark in the World Cup Qualifiers where he had picked up 15 wickets and helped guide his side to the title. He can tonk the ball for a few sixes as well down the order.
Yadav picked up 45 wickets at an average of 17.77 even though he played almost half of his games on the bouncy tracks of South Africa and England. He started off by picking 17 wickets in South Africa and scalped a further 9 in England. He picked up 19 wickets in the Asia Cup and against Windies to end a memorable year.
Though the Indian picked up only 22 wickets in 13 ODIs, what stood out was his impressive economy rate of 3.62 in 2018. In an era when batters are always eager to go for the big hits, Bumrah impressed by stalling the flow of runs both in the powerplay and the death overs. His best performance came against the Windies when he bowled 6 overs at Thiruvananthapuram and conceded only 1.83 runs per over!
The tearaway quick does not need quick and bouncy tracks to perform, and this was evident in his performances in Sri Lanka, where he picked up 10 wickets in 4 games. He also fared well against Australia and India and hence gets a look in.