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The ODI XI of 2018

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ODI_XI_2018_CricketWith the World Cup just a few months away, cricketers all over were eager to leave their mark on ODIs in 2018. While some teams failed to perform with the required consistency, others were aided by some consistent players, who had memorable outings this year.

Here is the ODI XI of 2018.

Rohit Sharma (ODIs: 19, Runs: 1,030, Avg: 73.57 average, SR: 100.09) (VC)

Rohit was one of the best openers in the format in 2018. He started off with a knock of 115 against South Africa, which was followed by 137 against England in England. Though Rohit’s Test career has been on the decline, his remains dangerous in ODIs. Rohit led the Indian team to victory in the Asia Cup, where he scored yet another hundred, and followed it up with twin centuries against the West Indies at home.

Shikhar Dhawan (ODIs: 19, Runs: 897, Avg: 49.38, SR: 102.28)

Partnering Rohit is his India teammate Shikhar Dhawan. The left-hander had a phenomenal start to the season, scoring two fifties and a century against South Africa, followed by a few solid starts in England. Though Dhawan was unable to reach a 50 in England, he did score a few 40s and ended the series with a strike-rate of 113.20. His fabulous year continued with a good showing in the Asia Cup, where he scored two hundreds.

Virat Kohli (ODIs: 14, Runs: 1202, Avg: 133.55, SR: 102.55) (C)

As usual, Kohli was a tough player to bowl to in 2018. The Indian skipper started with a bang, scoring three hundreds and a half century against South Africa. He looked composed in England as well, managing 45 and a fifty on tour. Kohli was rested for the Asia Cup, but returned against West Indies to create yet another record. He became the first ever Indian captain to score three consecutive hundreds, and with six hundreds to his name in 2018 in 14 games, Kohli by far was the best player this year.

Ross Taylor (ODIs: 11, Runs: 639, Avg: 91.28, SR: 88.87)

Ross Taylor did not play any international games for over eight months, as New Zealand did not have any encounters during this period. However, in the 11 games he did play, he showed off his skills and temperament, smashing two centuries and four fifties. All four half-centuries came against Pakistan - two in New Zealand and two in tough conditions at UAE. With an average of 91.28, Taylor was the unheralded performer of 2018.

Sikandar Raza (ODIs: 18, Runs: 633, Bat Avg: 39.56, Bat SR: 82.31; Wickets: 22, Bowl Avg: 29.50, Economy: 4.77)

It might surprise some to see a Zimbabwean on the list, but considering that Raza’s performances came against stronger opponents, his feats need to be recognized. He started the year by scoring two fifties in Dhaka, against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and ended the year with two more 40+ scores against Bangladesh. With the Bangla spinners and fast bowlers being tough to tackle at home, Raza’s performances can in no way be slighted. He had also scored a fabulous 92 against a tough Afghanistan unit at Sharjah. Raza is more than handy with the ball too, and with the ODI team already having three seamers, Raza’s off-break can add variety to the line-up.

Jos Buttler (ODIs: 23, Runs: 671, Avg: 51.61, SR: 113.53; Catches: 26, Stumpings: 9) (Wk)

The Englishman is not only a clean striker of the ball, but he can also hold the innings together when the need arises. For most of the year, Buttler scored at more than run-a-ball. But in the fifth ODI against Australia, when England needed to chase just 206, that his temperament and big-match skills came to the fore. After his side had been reduced to 50 for 5, Buttler forewent his attacking instinct to anchor the run-chase. He eventually ensured that England got to the target with one wicket to spare. His wicket-keeping and ability to adapt to any situation makes him a dangerous prospect.

Thisara Perera (ODIs: 17, Runs: 415, Bat Avg: 34.58, Bat SR: 115.59; Wickets: 25, Bowl Avg: 20.72, Economy: 5.78)

The Sri Lankan’s performances went almost unnoticed this year. Like Buttler, he too came lower down the order and was responsible for some crucial runs in the death overs. He was in fine form with the bat against South Africa, scoring 49 off 30 balls and following it up with an unbeaten 50 off 49. Moreover, Perera’s bowling was a revelation this year. While Sri Lanka’s fast bowlers were prone to inconsistency, he held his own and took 25 wickets at an average of just 20.72.

Rashid Khan (ODIs: 20, Wickets: 48, Avg: 14.45, Economy: 3.89)

Rashid Khan, yet again, was a bowler to fear in 2018. The Afghanistan bowler constantly ruffled opponents in the middle overs. He had a memorable time in the World Cup Qualifiers, where he picked up 15 wickets, helping his side to the title.

Kuldeep Yadav (ODIs: 19, Wickets: 45, Avg: 17.77, Economy: 4.64)

Kuldeep Yadav’s biggest strength is that he does not need slow or dry tracks to succeed. He showed this in the overseas tours of South Africa and England this year, where he picked up 17 and 9 wickets in 6 and 3 matches, respectively. The chinaman also has an impressive economy rate of under 5, which highlights how dangerous he was in 2018. After the tour of England, India played the Asia Cup and hosted West Indies, and Kuldeep shone in both tournaments, picking up 10 and 9 wickets, respectively.

Jasprit Bumrah (ODIs: 13, Wickets: 22, Avg: 16.63, Economy: 3.62)

More than the number of wickets that the Indian seamer picked up, what stood out for Bumrah this year was his economy rate of under 3.7, a commendable feat indeed in an age when batsmen are always looking to go for the kill. He conceded less than 3.5 runs per over in seven games this year and was at his miserly best against the high-flying Windies unit at Thiruvananthapuram, when he gave away only 1.83 runs in 6 overs.

Lungi Ngidi (ODIs: 13, Wickets: 26, Avg: 23.03, Economy: 5.56)

There was a toss-up between Mustafizur Rahman and Ngidi for this spot, but with the latter playing against more quality opponents like India and Australia, he gets the look-in. He is yet another bowler who does not need conditions to perform, which was aptly reflected in his performance in Sri Lanka, where he picked up 10 wickets in 4 ODIs.



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