India skipper Virat Kohli has added another feather to his cap after he was included as one of the five Cricketers of the Years in the 2019 edition of the Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack which was published on Wednesday.
Kohli, along with England’s Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Rory Burns and English women’s star Tammy Beaumont were named as the five Cricketers of the Year. The Cricketer of the Year award can be handed to a player only once in his or her lifetime.
The India skipper also became the first player in history to be named as the Leading Cricketer in the World for the third year in a row.
Kohli had a sensational 2018 with the bat including a terrific individual series in England which India lost by 4-1. The right-hander had struggled with an average of just 13.40 on his previous tours of England but he laid those ghosts to rest as he went on to aggregate 593 runs in the five Tests in 2018 while registering two tons.
The India superstar scored a total of 2,375 international runs across all three formats to finish as the leading run-scorer by some distance.
India’s Smriti Mandhana was awarded the accolade of the Leading Cricketer in the women’s game after registering as many as 13 half-centuries across the limited-overs formats while Afghanistan leg spinner was named as the Leading T20 Cricketer for the second year in a row.
“Despite finishing on the losing side, India captain Virat Kohli shone with the bat, laying to rest his struggles in England in 2014,” Wisden editor Lawrence Booth was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“His Test batting, especially in England, was magnificent, while his 50-over form moved to a new level – if that was possible,” Booth added.
Woakes has been hampered by a troublesome knee for some time now in his career with the all-rounder missing out on England’s Test series against West Indies and Sri Lanka in the last few months.
While he has been featuring in the limited-overs squad regularly, Woakes was forced to sit out the second ODI against West Indies in Bridgetown recently after another flare up in his knee. Now, with England’s World Cup squad announcement just days away, the 30-year-old is feeling pretty confident about his fitness.
“I feel like I’ll still be able to get through constant days of cricket. It’s in a better place than it was in the West Indies,” Woakes was quoted as saying by the Cricketer.
“I just found that in the Caribbean when it flared up a little bit, I struggled to get out of second gear and it just felt like I couldn’t really get going.
“Since getting back it’s been good to have a couple of injections, settle it down, build a bit of strength around it and do a bit of rehab. I feel like I’ve turned a corner with it.”
The England all-rounder is hoping to avoid a repeat of the last time he played in a major international tournament for his country. In the 2017 Champions Trophy held in England, Woakes had broken down in the very first game against Bangladesh before subsequently being ruled out of the tournament.
“You know, injuries are part and parcel of the game and part of professional sport,” said Woakes.
“But what happened in the Champions Trophy gives me a little bit of extra motivation to be right for an exciting summer ahead.
“It’s just something which I have to manage and constantly maintain. As a fast bowler, you’re always going to have something that’s sore, so if that’s the only thing that’s sore I’ll take that.”
Warner is set to return to the Australia squad ahead of the 2019 ICC World Cup in England after serving his one-year ban from international and domestic cricket for his role in the infamous ball-tampering saga that erupted in Cape Town.
Warner and Steve Smith are expected to play crucial roles for the Aussies in the World Cup but Smith has advised head coach Justin Langer to keep the ego of the former in check.
“It’s difficult to know what it’s like behind the scenes, but he’s always been an incredible cricketer,” Smith told The Back Page on Fox Sports.
“Especially when he bats, he bats with that driven nature, that intensity, ego to perform. And he’s an excellent cricketer.
“I think where David has been throughout his career is that he’s pissed a lot of people off. He’s just that type of guy. I think at the moment he needs Australian cricket more than they need him.”
Warner is currently leading the run-scoring charts in the IPL after his return from a one-year absence with the Hyderabad opener racking up 349 runs from his six appearances while also registering an excellent ton.
Smith has no doubts over the southpaw’s commitment but still feels that he needs to be managed carefully on his international return.
“He’s very driven, I think he wants to do well, he wants to prove his worth again and I think David Warner in that position is probably a good guy to have in your environment,” Smith said.
“It’s when he starts to get bigger than everybody else that probably management needs to be ready for [that].
“Guys like (Justin) Langer and whoever is captaining the side going forward need to ensure they stay on top of that and manage that space and that ego well going forward.”
While their neighbours and rivals New Zealand have already announced their 15-man final World Cup squad, Australia are yet to do so. The last date for the participating nations to submit their respective squad lists is April 23.