India drew the T20 series in Australia before recording their maiden Test series win Down Under with a 2-1 victory. The Men in Blue then followed it up with a 2-1 victory in the ODI series as well to bring a successful wrap to the tour.
Following the historic feat, India’s players and coaching personnel had been given significant cash bonuses for their performances.
On Tuesday, the BCCI awarded each of the five Indian selectors a cash bonus of $28,000 for their selections for the team’s tour of Australia.
“The five men have played a crucial role in picking a balanced Indian squad and offering the team management enough options to work around different combinations,” Committee of Administrators (CoA) chief Vinod Rai was quoted as saying by AFP.
“The boys chosen to represent the Indian team went about their task in a fearless manner and stood up in challenging situations,” Rai added.
CoA member and former India women’s skipper Diana Edulji too took the opportunity to praise India’s selection panel headed by MSK Prasad.
“Each member who has played a role in India’s recent triumphs in Australia needs to be appreciated,” she stated.
After dispatching Australia in their own backyard, India will be looking to do the same to their Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand as the two sides get ready to meet in a five-match ODI series beginning on Wednesday at Napier.
The hosts are brimming with confidence themselves after a recent 3-0 clean sweep over Sri Lanka and have key batsmen like Ross Taylor and skipper Kane Williamson in excellent form.
With New Zealand’s batting order looking rock solid, India skipper Virat Kohli has asked his team to be prepared to chase 300 plus targets in the series.
“You see New Zealand have the ability to make the game high-scoring, so the key is to not panic when you see 300 posted regularly. You just have to back yourself as a batting group to get those runs or set a big target when you’re batting first,” Kohli said on the eve of the first ODI.
The visitors will have recent history against them in New Zealand with their last five ODI series in the country ending in four defeats and one tie. The last time India played an ODI series in the country, they were handed a 0-4 thrashing in a five-match series.
Kohli, was a part of the losing squad led by MS Dhoni, believes India have learned their lessons from that defeat.
“We’ve seen a lot of things that happened in the last series in New Zealand, the patterns and the areas the guys were looking to get us out,” the India star stated.
“We were probably not an experienced side back then in terms of batting together. If you see the last three years or so we have evolved as a batting group, we are more aware of our abilities,” he added.
It was a day to savour for the India skipper who swept the big three prizes at the ICC Awards as he became the first man in history to win the trifecta of the Cricketer of the Year, Men’s ODI Player of the Year and the Men’s Test Player of the Year in the same calendar year.
Kohli came in for some praise from his New Zealand counterpart Kane Williamson who was wary of focussing on just the India skipper in the series.
“Obviously a world class player, Virat, and he’s always a challenge to come up against and is someone who is most admired in terms of how he goes about his cricket and he’s formidable in his run scoring. Definitely a player of note,” said Williamson.
“There’s so many quality players in that side so although he is world class, you don’t want to get too consumed around one individual because there’s a number of match winners in their side. You focus on the opposition as a whole,” he continued.
New Zealand beat India by 24 runs the last time both sides met in an ODI at Napier in January, 2014.
Virat Kohli has become the first man to claim the top three prizes at the ICC Awards after a remarkable 2018.
The India captain lifted the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the ICC Cricketer of the Year and was also named the Men’s Test and ODI Player of the Year.
The 30-year-old scored 1,322 runs, including five centuries, at an average of 55.08 in 13 Tests and 1,202 at an astonishing 133.55 with six hundreds in one-day internationals.
Kohli said: “It feels amazing. It’s a reward for all the hard work that you do throughout the calendar year.
“I feel really grateful and very, very happy with the team doing well at the same time myself performing.
“Having recognition at the global level from the ICC is something you feel proud of as a cricketer because you understand that there are many players playing the game.”
Kohli was named captain of both the Test and ODI teams of the year and although England did not have a representative in the former, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes all made the latter.
Aaron Finch’s world record 172-run T20 score against Zimbabwe has won him the Performance of the Year award for the second time.
The 32-year-old Australia opener plundered 16 fours and 10 sixes as he smashed his own record of 156 during his 76-ball onslaught in Harare in July last year to regain the prize he won in 2013-14.
Finch said: “It was just one of those days that things seemed to go my way, so it was nice to break my own record and get a 172.
“After I got a hundred and I started to middle consistently, that is when I knew it was going to be a big one. It all happened pretty quick.”
India’s 21-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant was named Emerging Player of the Year after launching his Test career with a six and never looking back.
He scored a century and two fifties on his way to a total of 537 runs in eight Tests during the voting period and claimed 40 catches and two stumpings, and also contributed in one-day international and T20 matches.
Scotland batsman Calum MacLeod claimed the award for Associate Player of the Year after his unbeaten knock of 157 against Afghanistan in Bulawayo and his 140 not out against England.
MacLeod said: “It is a huge honour to win the ICC Associate Player of the Year award. It has been a really special year for me personally. I thank the ICC, Cricket Scotland, my team-mates and all the fans to making it a year I won’t forget.”
New Zealand’s Kane Williamson claimed the Spirit of Cricket award, while Sri Lankan Kumar Dharmasena was voted Umpire of the Year.
India’s victory in the Under-19s World Cup in New Zealand was deemed the Fans’ Moment of the Year.