The year 2018 gave us some breathtaking moments as far Test cricket is concerned. Many teams enjoyed their show to script some essential victories throughout the campaign. Overall, we had a productive term with many players chipping in. Kane Williamson captains Kyro Sports Test playing XI of 2018.
We have analysed the year and the performances that came along with it. It was a tough decision to narrow it down to 11 players in the end. But credit to all the names that crossed our minds. It was a year that saw some new faces break into the format.
Three out of the Fab Four players had a defining year yet again. It was also the season for the pacers. Bowlers across teams stood up and got enormous number of wickets and match-winning moments.
There were many individual records that were seen throughout the campaign. Let’s celebrate the start of 2019 with a look back to the Test XI of 2018.
Kusal Mendis (Sri Lanka)
Sri Lanka’s Kusal Mendis was on song right since the start of the year. The Lankan ace was the only player besides Virat Kohli that got past 1,000 runs in Test cricket in 2018. He led the charge for the islander with the bat.
Mendis was his side’s best performer. The classy batsman scored 1,023 runs in 12 Tests. He opened the innings and fought many a times to give his side the platform to build something. Sri Lanka struggled to find consistency in 2018, but hats off to Mendis for standing tall.
He is one of the few positives the Lankan unit can boast off. Three hundreds and four fifties was positive returns for the 23-year-old youngster. He has a lot to achieve in the game.
Kane Williamson (c) (New Zealand)
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson was a brilliant leader that helped his side produce some entertaining cricket. He is our choice as captain of this side. Williamson led his side to series win against England (home), Pakistan (away) and Sri Lanka (home).
That’s three out of three series victories for the talented Kiwi. Williamson led by example and showed his stature as a true captain. He is a thinking player and his leadership qualities go in sync with his batting that looked effortless.
Kane Williamson shined through his individual heroics, which meant that he moved up to number two in the ICC Test Rankings. He notched 651 runs in total. With two hundreds and three fifties, Kane was the superstar for an all-round NZ side.
Joe Root (England)
England’s Test skipper defined his prowess with the bat after fighting back in the course of the year to hit form. He helped England win against India and Sri Lanka. They were massive victories at home and away given the ride England enjoyed prior to that.
England’s body language looked poor post the Ashes defeat and things went wrong against New Zealand and Pakistan. But Root, who was often criticised for failing to hit big hundreds and making poor decisions on the field, stomped to show his authority.
The stylish batsman scored 948 runs in 2018. He smashed two centuries and six fifties. The performance will give him the confidence to shine in 2019 with the Ashes being at home.
Virat Kohli (vc) (India)
Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli ended as the leading runs scorer in 2018 (1,322). Kohli managed to slam five hundreds. He was the best batsman last season and he scored runs everywhere he played. The magic started in South Africa with a blistering 153 in Centurion.
Kohli was India’s highest scorer in South Africa and in England. He also dominated the show against the West Indies at home. Records and runs went hand in hand for the 30-year-old Kohli.
India failed to win in South Africa and England, but Kohli made sure they ended the year on a high after gaining a 2-1 lead against Australia with a win in Melbourne.
Henry Nicholls (New Zealand)
New Zealand’s Henry Nicholls was consistent throughout and played a solid hand in helping his side taste success in all the three Test series. The player has become a force to be reckoned with and had gained respect from all corners.
Nicholls notched a healthy average of 73.11 in 2018. That was the best by any player. He amassed three hundreds with a best of 162* against the Lankans. Nicholls also went on to hit three fifties as well and commanded the middle order.
AB de Villiers (South Africa)
The famed South African went on to retire from the game earlier in 2018, but he showed his impact. He was South Africa’s best batsman in the Test series against giants India and Australia. AB played just seven Tests, but he already managed to notch 638 runs.
In the two series that he played in 2018, he displayed his heroics with the willow. An outstanding average of 53.16 was a solid return which included a century and six fifties. De Villiers played an instrumental in South Africa’s twin wins against India.
He highlighted his game-changing attributes in the Australia series where he averaged 50+.
Jos Buttler (wk) (England)
England’s Jos Buttler ticked off the right boxes. The limited-overs hero was given a rare chance to feature in the longest format last year, and he grabbed the chance.
The player who wasn’t part of the Ashes, grabbed 760 runs from 10 Test matches at an incredible average of 44.70 that includes seven fifty-plus scores. He also scored a ton. Prior to his Test match appearance last year, he last played in the longest format in 2016.
He transformed his ODI cricket and IPL form into the longest format of the game. He fills in as the wicket-keeper of the side.
Nathan Lyon (Australia)
Australian spinner Nathan Lyon was on song in the year 2018. His panache and consistency on the field needs to be praised. Lyon has shown on repeated occasions of being a poacher. His tryst with wickets was a success story.
Lyon’s performances rose as the matches went on. He ended 2018 with 49 scalps. He was also the most successful spinner in Test cricket, besides also being the top wicket-taker for Australia. Lyon’s stakes grew as the season progressed.
He was prominent in the 2017-18 Ashes and that helped him continue his zeal in the game. With an economy rate of just 2.70, Lyon delivered success. He amassed two five-wicket hauls in a year that didn’t quite go well for his team.
Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami (India)
Indian pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami play a prominent role in the side. The two fast bowlers went on to be part of the historic three-men attack (Ishant Sharma) that claimed the most wickets in 2018 as a unit.
The duo went on to pick 95 wickets between them in the calendar year. Their success came largely away from home. Bumrah finished the year as the leading wicket-taker for India in Tests (48). All of his wickets came in overseas conditions. He was also the highest wicket-taker in the series against Australia (20) as the MCG Test concluded.
Shami had a breakthrough season. The right-arm pacer hit top gear in the third Test against South Africa earlier this year. His six-for helped India win the match. With 47 Test scalps, Shami is our choice as a lead bowler of the side.
Kagiso Rabada (South Africa)
The pace bowling unit gets the right balance with Kagiso Rabada in the mix. The South African bowler ended as the leading wicket-taker (52) in 2018. The number one bowler in the world showed his prowess in the home series against India and Australia.
Rabada played an important role in shaping up South Africa’s chances in winning matches. He ended the year with another terrific show against Pakistan in the Boxing Day Test. Rabada was accurate, pacy and often troubled batsmen with his vision.
His average of 20.07 was a terrific achievement. The right-arm pacer has led the way for others to look up to him and draw inspiration.
Pat Cummins (Australia) – The Aussie speedster was one of his nation’s brightest shining spots. He was right up there in producing a gritty show with astound variations and bounce. He claimed a total of 44 wickets.
Dilruwan Perera (Sri Lanka) – It was tough to not mention the Lankan cricketer, who claimed an impressive 50 scalps and finished as the 2nd highest wicket-taker.
Tom Latham (New Zealand) – It was a great year for this Kiwi batsman – who scored 658 runs in seven Tests at an incredible average of 59.81. He carried his bat against Sri Lanka at home after slamming 264*.