The reputation of Virat Kohli as an outstanding cricketer has been further enriched by a series of accolades from the 2019 edition of the Wisden Cricketers Almanack that was published earlier this week.
The Accolades of Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli, who is going to lead the World Cup campaign for India in England, has recently been voted the leading cricketer of the world for 3 consecutive years after receiving the vote again in 2019. He has also managed to receive one accolade that has been eluding him for most of his career, getting voted as one of the Five Cricketers of the Year by Wisden, which is considered the oldest award on an individual level within the world of cricket.
Wisden Cricket Accolades Worth Mentioning
Sam Curran and Jos Buttler were also voted as one of the five cricketers after their vital roles in the summer campaigns for England along with Rory Burns, who is the championship-winning captain for Surrey, as well as Tammy Beaumont, who is another phenomenal player from the England cricket team on the women’s side.
The fellow Indian of Kohli, Smriti Mandhana, has been voted the leading cricketer when it comes to the women’s cricket game after she managed to rake in 1,291 runs in limited-over formats which included 13 half-centuries. The Afghanistan leg spinner, Rashid Khan, has been voted as the leading T20 cricketer for 2 consecutive years now.
However, Kohli was undoubtedly the dominant figure in the world of cricket for 2018, accumulating 2,735 runs on an international level at 68.37 on all formats. This is more than 700 runs than the nearest challenger who is Joe Root from the England squad.
During that time, Kohli managed to score a phenomenal 11 centuries during 37 innings, 7 of which were accumulated during India’s tour of Australia, England, and South Africa, each considered the most difficult venues for batsmen that travel overseas. His form was particularly outstanding during the Test tour of England even though India suffered a 4-1 defeat in the series. Kohli made a total of 593 runs in 5 Tests with a total of 59.30 which included hundreds at both Trent Bridge and Edgbaston.
Comments from Wisden
Wisden recently stated that “influence on, or excellence in, the previous summer in England was the major criteria for inclusion when it comes to Cricketer of the Year”, and due to the fact that Kohli has managed only 134 runs at a rate of 13.40 during his previous test tour that occurred in 2014, this was essentially his first real chance to finally claim the exclusive honour. This is not like the Leading Cricketer award which can only be achieved once in the career of a player.
“In spite of his losing side, Virat Kohli as the Indian captain managed to shine with his bat, eliminating his struggles that he endured during 2014 in England,” stated Lawrence Booth who is the editor for Wisden.
The World Cup squad for India will be announced on 15 April 2019 in Mumbai. The announcement will likely see Virat Kohli attend the meeting as the captain for India. He will also be leading the Royal Challengers Bangalore in their game against Mumbai Indians on the same night.
The Selection of the Indian Cricket Team
Even though the ICC provided a deadline to announce World Cup squads up until 23 April 2019, it’s understood that the selectors of India want their players to receive additional time to adequately prepare themselves for the upcoming tournament that the team last won during 2011 while playing at home.
The chairman of the selection committee in India, MSK Prasad, pointed out in early February that the panel managed to shortlist around 20 players where 15 final players would be selected. “There might be an instance where the final spot will be given at the last minute. However, we are quite clear when it comes to the rest of the team,” Prasad stated in an interview to reporters.
Prasad also made it very clear that the selection panel won’t consider IPLK form to fill the vacant spots, “since we already made our minds up”. “We will only observe a player’s performance if we believe that they should be selected for the squad. We already have a list of 20 phenomenal players and will follow the form of each player to make our decision,” Prasad stated recently.
Kohli also reiterated the statement before the home ODI series where they faced Australia in March, stating that both the selectors and team management need to be clear regarding the team they wish to take to the cricket World Cup. “I highly doubt anything will change going forward, regardless of the IPL performances from each player. Should a handful of players not enjoy a good IPL season, it won’t eliminate them from being chosen for the cricket World Cup. This will not affect at the end.”
The last ODI tournament for India was the Australian series before the start of the World Cup, and they, unfortunately, lost 3-2 even though they won the first two games. After the tournament, Kohli insisted that India wasn’t panicking. “As a team, we are quite sorted,” Kohli stated.
The main question about the team selection is primary around the 4th batsmen for the Indian side as well as the place for the second all-rounded following Hardik Pandya. There’s no denying that Vijay Shankar was in excellent form during the New Zealand series which has raised the bar for him taking the spot as opposed to Ravindra Jadeja who hasn’t performed too well since the Asia Cup.
The other talking point is based on the fast-bowling attackers. As it stands, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah are certainties. Pandya might play the role of seamer part-time, but then India sits with a 4th specialist seamer.
Hashim Amla is finally making his return to the world of cricket when he plays for the Cape Cobras in the upcoming T20 for Cricket South Africa, coach Ashwell Prince announced on Thursday in Cape Town. Prince has also confirmed that CSA is hoping that Alma might be able to participate in a short spell taking place in England ahead of the Cricket World Cup.
However, Amla wants to stay in South Africa to ensure he is around his ailing father. “Hashim Amla is available,” Ashwell Prince stated at Newlands. “As per my knowledge, the CSA would have preferred Amla to play in the United Kingdom, but he wants to stay at home due to his father.”
Hashim Amla’s Current Situation
The Cape Cobras are set to play a total of 5 games during the domestic T20 before the South Africa squad for the World Cup is announced on 18 April 2019. The opening tournament on Sunday against the Lions will be the first participation for Amla in competitive cricket since 1 March 2019. Hashim Amla last played for the South African cricket team in February when they faced Sri Lanka in two Tests. After that, he was given compassionate leave from the team to be with his father that is currently ill.
Amla’s situation has improved slightly since then. The 36-year-old is currently short of a match and form ahead of the deadline announcement for the South African cricket squad for the World Cup. His place in the cricket squad isn’t settled as of yet, and Linda Zondi, the selection convener for the CSA, told reporters that the process of selecting the team is giving him nights without any sleep.
Amla Is Ready to Play Again
Amla began his season in a horrible form where he averaged only 10.14 with his bat along with two ducks in 7 innings in the Mzansi Super League while playing for Durban Heat before he turned things around with big runs. This included a 27th ODI hundred when Pakistan paid a visit. After spending time away from cricket to be with his father, Amla made his return to cricket this week at Durban and will fly to Cape Town where he is set to join the Cape Cobras before their initial game during the T20 Challenge by the CSA. Ashwell Prince thinks that the cricket tournament will give Amla valuable time to get back into form before the cricket World Cup.
“I don’t believe an extension in innings has ever been an issue for Hashim,” Prince stated. “It’s necessarily all about getting in. During the Mzansi Super League, Amla couldn’t manage it, which occurred after a long lay-off. I still believe there’s a place for someone to bat throughout the innings, and Amla is very capable of achieving that. There’s a chance Amla can bat through the innings. Even if he does half of it, it will be good enough in terms of batting.”
The final limited-overs game of the tour followed the same form and style of so many games that these two teams played in the last few weeks. For instance, Sri Lanka couldn’t make regular breakthroughs to the innings of South Africa as Dwaine Pretorius, and Reeza Hendricks managed to combine to accumulate 90 for the 2nd wicket. South Africa then went on to provide a solid finish where JP Duminy managed to score 34 runs off 14 balls. This allowed South Africa to surge to a 198 for two from only 20 overs.
Sri Lanka’s Poor Performance
In terms of batting, there’s no denying that Sri Lanka was poor yet again. Niroshan Dickwella managed to offer a fast start, accumulating 38 runs from only 22 balls. However, this is where it stopped as the rest of the batting line up simply collapsed. Sri Lanka was five wickets down with just 41 runs before Isuru Udana managed to make his charge, hitting four sixes to accumulate 36 runs from 23 balls. However, a win was impossible for Sri Lanka even when Udana was on the field. Once he was bowled out, all hope was lost as the four wickets followed with no additional runs from the team.
The only feature of the game that set it apart from the other matches that were previously played between the two teams was the rain delay, taking more than 70 minutes from the match which shortened the innings of Sri Lanka by three overs. Before the rain delay, Sri Lanka was six down and needed 88 runs from 53 balls. Once the rain delay came to an end, Sri Lanka required 72 runs from 35 balls.
South Africa’s Excellence
South Africa managed to produce a match-defining stand at the second wicket, precisely the same way they did in the previous game. Even though Rassie van der Dussen, who formed part of the incredible partnership during the second T20 match, was resting for this match, Hendricks as opener managed to get his second consecutive 50, joining Pretorius at the other end this time, who also managed to produce the best innings of the match with 77 runs from 42 balls not out.
The partnership between the two batsmen was formed during the 6th over where South Africa boasted with over six as their run-rate. However, the team decided to take the innings by the collar, allowing the partnership to accumulate 90 runs from only 55 balls. Neither the seam of spin from Sri Lanka’s bowling was spared.
Henricks was eventually bowled out during the 15th over by Vandersay, but that only opened the door for more incredible gameplay. Pretorius smashed the ball for three successive fours before he hit another six and a four after that. Duminy also managed to make his presence felt during the 18th over. South Africa managed to prove once again that they are the top-rated cricket team when it comes to T20’s.