Wisden honours India’s cricket captains Virat Kohli and Mithali Raj

By Kersi Meher-Homji

India currently stands at no. 3 in the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. But in Test cricket and one-day internationals (ODI) she has won most number of “gold medals”.

Internationally, Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack is recognised as the Bible of cricket. And any honour bestowed on cricketers in Wisden is applauded in the cricket world.

India’s dashing no-nonsense captain and elegant batsman Virat Kohli has been named Leading Cricketer in the World for the second year running in the 2018 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, out only yesterday in England.

Writing in this revered publication, editor Lawrence Booth said, “For the second year in a row, Indian captain Virat Kohli is Wisden’s Leading Cricketer in the World. In all formats in 2017, he scored 2,818 runs, more than 700 ahead of [England’s] Joe Root in second place. Three of his five Test hundreds were doubles, and the other two unbeaten, and his 1,460 one-day international [ODI] runs were unsurpassed.”

It’s been a year of medals and awards for Kohli, who was also named ODI Cricketer of the Year and overall Cricketer of the Year at the ICC awards this January following a sensational 2017 for him and his team.

India’s national captains completed a clean sweep in the latest edition of Wisden, with India’s Test and ODI captain Mithali Raj named as the Leading Women’s Cricketer in the World.

Editor Booth added: “Mithali Raj made it an Indian double after she was named the Leading Woman Cricketer in the World. In the course of captaining her country to within a whisker of the World Cup title, she became the leading run scorer in the history of women’s ODIs, and completed her seventh successive half-century, another record.”

Such high honours to Kohli and Raj are equivalent to Olympic gold medals.

Under Mithali Raj India lost to England in a scintillating World Cup final at Lord’s last season, with 2018 Wisden Almanack’s cover star and Cricketer of the Year 2017 Anya Shrubsole from England capturing six wickets for the home side.

Perhaps inspired by her being named Leading Woman Cricketer of 2017, Mithali Raj led India to victory over England in the third and last ODI by eight wickets at Nagpur yesterday. In reply to England women’s 9 for 201, India scored 2 for 202. A thumping victory as India won the series 2-1.

After Smriti Mandhana gave India a flying start by making 53, Mithali Raj (74 not out with nine fours) and Deepti Sharma (54 not out with nine fours and a six) added 103 for the unbroken third wicket. For taking 2-35 and winning the match with a six, Deepti Sharma was adjudged Player of the Match.

This was Mithali’s 56th fifty in ODIs, the most number by a woman in ODIs.

Number one ranked India under Kohli will be touring Australia in 2018-19, all determined to win their first ever Test series in Australia. Their task is made easier as Australia’s captain and vice captain Steve Smith and David Warner will not be eligible to play in the series because of their ban till next March.

India dominates rankings in Men’s internationals

India is ranked no. 1 in both Tests and ODIs.

Batting: Kohli is ranked no.2 in Tests and no.1 in ODIs.

Bowling: India’s fast-medium bowler Jasprit Bumrah is ranked no.1 in ODI bowling.

India’s spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin are ranked nos. 3 and 4 in Tests.

All-rounders: Jadeja is ranked no. 1 and Ashwin no. 3 in Tests.

Call it a Grand Slam for India!

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