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Virat Kohli named 'Leading Cricketer' for third successive time by Wisden

The Wisden Almanack named Virat Kohli as the Leading Cricketer of the Year for 2018 on Wednesday (April 10). The Indian captain also was picked as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the year, along with Tammy Beaumont, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, and Rory Burns. Meanwhile, Smriti Mandhana bagged the Women's Leading Cricketer of the Year.

Kohli, who was picked as the Leading Cricketer of the Year for the third time in a row, composed 2735 runs across the three formats in 2018. He was in prime form during the tour of England, where he notched up 593 runs over five Tests at an average of 59.3. He ended the year with five Test hundreds to his name. Don Bradman (10 times) and Jack Hobbs (8 times) are the only two cricketers who have bagged the award on more than three occasions.

Mandhana, who won the Leading Women's Cricketer of the Year, scored 669 and 662 runs in ODIs and T20Is during the course of 2018. She was also in stellar form in the Women's Super League, compiling 421 runs at an astounding strike rate of 174.68.

Rashid Khan bagged the Leading T20 Cricketer of the Year. The Afghanistan spinner plucked 21 scalps in the Indian Premier League 2018. He was also in superb form in T20Is, finishing with 22 wickets at an average of 8.68 for Afghanistan last year.

Meanwhile, alongside Kohli, Beaumont, Curran, Burns, and Buttler were included in the Five Wisden Cricketers of the Year. Beaumont, the England opener, compiled 452 and 430 runs in ODIs and T20Is. She also finished with 198 runs for Southern Vipers in the Women's Super League. Burns, the Surrey opener, accrued 1359 runs at an average of 64.71 in the County Championship. He crunched four hundred during the course of the County season, and also played a key role in helping Surrey win their first Championship title after 16 years. Subsequently, Burns was picked for the Test tours of Sri Lanka and West Indies.

Buttler, the wicketkeeper-batsman, had a breakthrough year in Test cricket, evidenced by the 760 runs he accumulated at an average of 44.70 in 2018. He also cracked his maiden Test hundred against India at Trent Bridge. The enterprising batsman also continued to make waves in limited overs cricket and averaged over 50 in ODIs in the year gone by. Curran, the younger brother of Tom, also took his game to an elevated level, finishing with 272 runs and 11 wickets in his debut Test series versus India. The promising all-rounder was also named the Player of the Series.

The criteria for Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year is based mainly on their "influence on the previous English season". Wisden has been listing out Cricketers of the Year since 1889.

India World Cup squad to be announced on April 15 in Mumbai

India's 15-member squad for the ICC World Cup will be selected on April 15 in Mumbai.

The Committee of Administrators (CoA) along with office bearers decided on the date during a meeting on Monday.

The last date for announcing the World Cup squads is April 23 but BCCI has decided to announce it eight days prior to the scheduled day.

The World Cup will be starting on May 30 in the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, the BCCI will be getting Rs 2.09 crore from Cricket Australia after reconciliation of accounts for the past 10 years.

"There have been discussions on accounts settlements over all the last bilateral series between India and Australia. We are supposed to get Rs 2.09 crore. The discussions are still on. The office bearers will again meet the CoA on April 20," a BCCI official told.

IPL 2019: SunRisers Hyderabad Look To Maintain Winning Momentum Against Mumbai Indians

SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) bounced back from a defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders and registered a hat-trick of victories to top the points table in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019. The opening pair of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow stitched together century stands in three successive matches to lead the Orange Army's run riot. Both of them will look to keep the SRH juggernaut rolling when they take on Mumbai Indians (MI) in the 19th match of the IPL 2019 at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad, on Saturday.

The confident SRH would not like to spare an inch against MI, lying at sixth place, with two wins and as many losses from four outings.

However, Mumbai Indian will take heart from the fact that they defeated defending champions Chennai Super Kings, their first loss in four games, in the last match.

In contrast, SunRisers Hyderabad, after losing their opening game against KKR, went on the win against Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Delhi Capitals.

SRH, in fact, were without the services of their captain Kane Williamson during Thursday's match against Delhi because of an injury, but they did not let that have an impact.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar led from the front as the seamer, along with Mohammad Nabi and Siddarth Kaul, chipped in with two wickets each to restrict Delhi to 129 for eight.

With opener Bairstow (48) once again shining with the bat, SRH had a cakewalk, cruising to a five-wicket win.

Come Saturday, SunRisers Hyderabad would again be banking on the English batsmen to deliver the goods, besides Australian David Warner.

The marauding pair of Warner and Bairstow have been in scintillating form this season, having shared three century-plus opening stands in four matches.

Among the bowlers, Afghanistan spin duo of Nabi and Rashid Khan, and Bhuvneshwar will be keen to fire in unison to counter the likes of Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Suryakumar Yadav, Quinton de Kock, Kieron Pollard and Pandya brothers (Krunal and Hardik).

The match starts at 8 pm (IST).

Asghar Afghan removed as Afghanistan captain

Afghanistan Cricket Board, on Friday (April 5), sacked Asghar Afghan as the captain across the three formats of the game. Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, and Rahmat Shah will take over the reins for ODIs, T20Is and Test cricket respectively.

Afghanistan also named Rashid, Shafiqullah Shafiq, and Hashmatullah Shahidi as vice-captains for ODIs, T20Is and Test cricket respectively.

Naib, the 28-year-old all-rounder, now has the task of leading Afghanistan in the upcoming World Cup to be held in the UK. It has to be noted that among Afghanistan's newly appointed leaders, only Rashid has previous experience of captaining the national side. The bowling all-rounder has led Afghanistan in four ODIs so far.

Rahmat has captained the Mis Ainak region four times in List A cricket, while Naib has led the Boost region and Mis Ainak region once each in first-class cricket. He has also captained List A teams on nine occasions.

Asghar was appointed as the captain of Afghanistan back in April 2015, having taken over the leadership role from all-rounder Mohammad Nabi. Under his stint, Afghanistan posted 31 wins in ODIs and they also registered 37 victories in 46 T20Is. He also led his country to their maiden Test win against Ireland this year. Asghar has been a regular member of the Afghanistan side since 2009 and has notched up 2013 and 1056 runs in ODIs and T20Is.

India win ICC Test championship mace for 3rd successive year

India has retained the ICC Test Championship Mace after finishing on top of the Test rankings with 116 points, it was announced on Monday (April 1). India will be awarded one million dollars for the third year in a row while New Zealand finished second with 108 points.

India lost the series in South Africa 1-2 and then went on to lose the five-Test series in England 1-4. They defeated Afghanistan in a one-off Test and also beat West Indies at home 2-0 in the two-Test series. Virat Kohli then led his side to a historic first-ever series win in Australia as India won the four-match series 2-1.

"Retaining the ICC Test Championship Mace once again is something we are all really proud of. Our team has been doing well across formats but it gives us extra pleasure to come out on top of the Test rankings. We all know the importance of Test cricket and of how only the best can prosper in the format," Kohli said.

"Our team has a lot of depth and I am sure this will stand us in good stead once the ICC World Test Championship commences later this year. That is again something we are really looking forward to as it adds more context to Test match cricket."

New Zealand sealed four consecutive wins in the year. They beat England at home 1-0 in the two-Test series, but their most impressive win came in the UAE against Pakistan. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were humbled by New Zealand at home as they sealed 1-0 and 2-0 series win. Kane Williamson, the New Zealand captain, said the most pleasing aspect of his side was the consistency displayed throughout the year.

"It's an awesome achievement for our side to finish second in the ICC Test Team Rankings and as a team, we should be very proud. It's come off the back of a lot of hard work and perseverance; not just by the eleven guys on the field, but the entire squad and support staff," he said.

"It's been especially pleasing to see the consistency we've shown in the longest form of the game over a decent period of time. We're now all really looking forward to the ICC World Test Championship getting underway and the added context the competition will bring."

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