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India enter 2019 as No 1 Test team; Virat Kohli best in Tests, Smriti Mandhana named cricketer of the year

The Virat Kohli-led side were dominant in ODIs as well as T20Is as they ended the 2018 ICC Team Rankings in the two formats at the second spot.

India enter 2019 as No 1 Test team; Virat Kohli best in Tests, Smriti Mandhana named cricketer of the year
Image Credits: Twitter/@BCCI

The New Year of 2019 has arrived and the Indian men's cricket team are stepping into the same as one of the most successful sides across all formats of the game. The Virat Kohli-led team have won a total of 35 matches out of the 53 games they played in 2018, while losing just 15 of them. Not only the men's team, but the Indian women's cricket team also came out with some stupendous performances throughout the year, including making it to the semi-finals of the T20I World Cup.

The year was marked with dominating achievements by not just the teams, but also by some remarkable personal records. Here are the highs with which the Indian cricket enters 2019:

The Indian men's team end 2018 at top Test spot

India regained the number one spot in the year-end International Cricket Council (ICC) Test Team Rankings after taking an unassailable 2-1 lead in the ongoing four-match series against Australia. The side maintained their numero-uno position in the rankings with 116 points after clinching a huge 137-run win over the Tim Paine-led side in the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday.

It was a roller-coaster ride for the Indian team in 2018 as they won seven and lost seven of the 14 games they played in the longest format of the game.

India end at second spot in ODIs, T20Is

The Virat Kohli-led side were dominant in ODIs as well as T20Is as they ended the 2018 ICC Team Rankings in the two formats at the second spot.

India, who ended 2018 with 7,000 points in ODI rankings, clinched 14 wins while losing just four matches in the 50-over format during the year. The side's thumping 5-1 win over South Africa at home, which was also their maiden bilateral series triumph in the country, was the highlight of 2018.

Meanwhile, the Indian team were also just a place behind their arch-rivals Pakistan in the T20I rankings. They won 14 games, including  series wins in South Africa and England, and lost just four matches in the shortest format of the game.

Virat Kohli maintains numero-uno Test spot

Virat Kohli maintained his top position in the year-end ICC Test Player Rankings after 2018 saw him achieve several milestones.The Indian skipper dropped three points despite a first innings score of 82 in the third Test against Australia in Melbourne, but still enjoys a 34-point lead over New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson in the player rankings for Test batsman.

Kohli, who attained a career-high 937 points during the year, which is the highest ever by an India batsman, scored a total of 1,322 runs this year. In August, Kohli overtook former Australian captain Steven Smith and has now held the top position for 135 days.

Smriti Mandhana bags 2018 ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year award

India’s stylish left-handed opener Smriti Mandhana has won the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award in 2018 for the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year and also been named as the ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Year. The 22-year-old, who has also been named in the ICC Women’s ODI Team of the Year and the ICC Women’s T20I Team of the Year, scored 669 runs at an average of 66.90 in 12 ODIs and 622 runs at a strike-rate of 130.67 in 25 T20Is during the voting period, which ran from  January 1 to December 31, 2018.

She also played a crucial role in India’s semi-final appearance at the ICC Women’s World T20 in the West Indies, scoring 178 runs in five matches at a strike-rate of 125.35 against England. However, India went on to lose that match by eight wickets to bow out of the tournament.

Harmanpreet Kaur named ICC Women's T20I 2018 team skipper

India's Harmanpreet Kaur was rewarded for spearheading her side to the semi-finals of the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 as she was named as the captain of the ICC Women’s T20I Team of the Year.

The Indian women's skipper scored 183 runs at a strike-rate of 160.5, while in the 25 matches in the calendar year, she accumulated 663 runs at a strike-rate of 126.2. Harmanpreet is also ranked third in the ICC Women’s Player Rankings for T20I Batters.