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ICC ODI Team of the year announced with some exciting inclusions.

January 25th, 2019Cricket
Following a year of huge swings in fortune for international cricket’s top one day sides, the ICC have launched their annual ODI Team of the Year and it’s no real surprise to see that India and England dominate the makeup of the side.

What is surprising is the lack of other members of what are usually top tier teams’ in the lineup. There is no room for players from Australia, West Indies, South Africa or Pakistan.

While three-quarters of the team is comprised of England and Indian players, reflecting their dominant positions at number one and two respectively in the MRF Tyres ICC Men's ODI Team rankings, what delights in this side is the fact that the supposed minnows have come roaring to the forefront in 2018, with places awarded to players from New Zealand, Bangladesh and most notably, Afghanistan.

The captaincy has been gifted to Virat Kohli, who has led his side to a very impressive 14 victories during 2018, suffering just 4 defeats and two drawn matches.

And the proliferation of England players in the team reflect their incredible run of 17 victories out of 24 matches winning every series they contested (barring a one off match against Scotland) during the previous 12 months.

While this acts as a bit of fun, the truth behind the selected players’ stats gives real insight into the strengths of sides as they hit the final few months of preparation for the ICC World Cup 2019 and show that some surprises seem most definitely on the cards this year.

So let’s delve into the minds of the ICC selectors and run through the ultimate ODI team for 2018.

Rohit Sharma (India)

The Indian opener fully deserves his place in the side following a scorching 2018 in which he finished second overall in terms of run scored. He scored 1030 runs from 19 innings at an average of 73.57 and strike-rate of 100.09. Along the way he amassed five centuries and three fifties. His captaincy of India in their victory in the 2018 Asia Cup only adds to his impressive form this year.

Jonathan Bairstow (England)

Relishing his role at the top of the order for England, Jonny Bairstow has piled up the runs in 2018. He finished third in the overall leaderboard behind Sharma and Kohli. From 22 innings at the top, he made 1025 runs at an average of 46.59, with his strike rate running at an incredibly pugnacious 118.22. That’s the highest of any batsman that achieved more than 500 runs during 2018. He put together knocks of four centuries and two fifties in 2018.

Virat Kohli (India, captain)

The captain of India and a global cricketing phenomenon, Virat seems to get better with each passing year. His superb average this year of 133.55 in ODIs says it all. But what says even more is that he came out on top of the global runs table in 2018 but only competed in fourteen one day matches. Topping out at 1202 runs for the year he managed to amass six centuries and three fifties. By anyone’s estimation he is deserving of the captaincy this year.

Joe Root (England)

From one captain to another, Joe Root’s position as the stalwart partnership and stable platform builder for his explosive middle order English batsmen forms the basis of his inclusion in this team. He has performed his role to a tee and piled up the runs along the way. He scored 946 runs from 24 innings at 59.12 including three centuries and five fifties. Considering his job is to be the anchor role, his strike-rate of 83.93 is none too shabby either. Perhaps his crowning achievement last year was the series win against India.

Ross Taylor (New Zealand)

Having scored 639 runs from just 10 innings at an average of 91.28 while striking at 88.87, this Kiwi legend has earned his place on devastating merit. His highest score was 181 not out which steered his New Zealand side to a five-wicket win over England in an impressive chase of 336. As well as that ‘daddy’ of a century he made one other as well as four fifties.

Jos Buttler (England, wk)

Buttler’s star keeps on getting brighter and his ODI form has carried through beautifully in his successful return to the England test side in 2018.The wicket-keeper batsman provided plenty of decisive knocks in the latter stages of an innings with the bat for England. He made two centuries and four fifties in 2018, scoring 671 runs at an average of 51.61 and a strike-rate of 113.53.Added to skill with the bat he proved to be the world’s most successful wicketkeeper in 2018, taking 26 catches and nine stumpings for a grand total of 35 dismissals.

Ben Stokes (England)

In at No.7 is England's all-rounder Stokes. He scored 313 runs at an average of 44.71, including three fifties from just 10 innings. This year was not his finest in terms of bowling stats. He managed just five wickets from 11 bowling innings, but his economy rate of 5.91 shows that he performs a very useful supporting role in a bowling attack with the occasionally destructive spell. His position as a truly world class all-rounder gives him his place in the ICC ODI dream team this year.

Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh)

The Bangladesh fast bowler had an excellent 2018, taking 29 wickets at an average of 21.72. His high level of tournament performance in the Asia Cup 2018 meant he came away with 10 wickets at an average of 18.50 runs to finish as the joint highest wicket-taker with Rashid Khan and Kuldeep Yadav, who also rightfully earn their place in this team. The selection body praised his craft and variability as the key to this year’s success as he can both swing the ball and deliver a very hard to read slower ball.

Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)

Without doubt Afghanistan are the delightful surprise package of the last 12 months. And the youthful Afghanistan leg-spinner was impressive throughout. In fact, he finished the year as the world’s leading wicket-taker in ODIs with a total of 48 to his name at just 14.45. In addition to that, he conceded runs at a paltry 3.89.His huge contribution to the fortunes of the Afghan team are highlighted by the fact that he only failed to take one wicket or more in just one of his team’s twenty matches in 2018. Apart from a successful Asia Cup, he was also the joint-leading wicket-taker in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018, launching his team into the big leagues and a place at the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019.

Kuldeep Yadav (India)

The guile of Yadav’s flight, pace and bounce outwitted many of the world’s finest batsmen this year and as a result, India’s menacing wrist spinner had pundits purring whenever he was in action. He took 45 wickets from his 19 matches at 17.77. His most impressive achievement perhaps is that this success was replicated outside of his native playing conditions, most notably in England and South Africa.

Jasprit Bumrah (India)

And rounding out the top eleven and once again highlighting India’s bowling prowess is Jasprit Bumrah. While Bumrah’s skills seemed to develop most significantly within the test arena this year, his very high ODI playing levels were maintained throughout. If anything, perhaps test success nurtured further ODI riches as he ended with a haul of 22 wickets from 13 innings at 16.63. And his economy of just 3.62 was the finest of any bowler who took more than 20 wickets in 2018. Again, his ability to add unreadable variability enhanced his pedigree for inclusion in the line-up with huge pace interspersed skilfully with much slower balls.

It’s clear to see from the ICC selection that ODI team form leads to inclusion in the world’s best team for 2018 and without support from teammates who didn’t make the World eleven; it’s fair to say that this illustrious group of players would not have achieved such lofty heights over the twelve months. The derivative success of Bangladesh, New Zealand and Afghanistan during the past year can only add spice to a tournament of tournaments this year, the ICC World Cup 2019 held in England and Wales. Let’s see if this form can be carried through to the competition and what thrilling upsets it may cause.

Expat Sport’s Dan McTiernan puts the recently published ICC ODI Team of the Year under the microscope and explores the potential impact of the talented new faces that have emerged in 2018 on the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019