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Sports

Virat Kohli does the Double in Wisden Almanack 2019

Virat Kohli does the Double in Wisden Almanack 2019

Mumbai: Tammy Beaumont, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran and Virat Kohli were chosen by the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack as the five Cricketers of the Year for their performances in the 2018 English summer.

Kohli, who has made a habit of picking up awards, was also named Wisden's Leading Cricketer of the Year for an "unprecedented" third year in a row, while Rashid Khan was Leading Twenty20 Cricketer of the Year for the second year running .

Smriti Mandhana, who has been the top scorer in women's one-day internationals and Twenty20 Internationals since the start of 2018, joined Kohli in being Wisden's Leading Cricketer of the Year.

The winners were announced with the release of the 156th edition of the Wisden Cricketers' Alamanck on Wednesday, 10 April. The Cricketer of the Year awards, a tradition of the Almanack first introduced in 1889, recognise excellence of players who have performed in England during the previous summer; a player can win it only once in their lifetime. The Leading Cricketer of the Year honours are more recent, and serve as a hat-tip to international performances, with no restrictions on the number of wins.

Kohli, the No.1 batsman on the MRF Tyres ICC Test and ODI Rankings, has been a regular on the Wisden pages in recent years, even appearing on the cover in the 2017 edition. Despite India's struggles on their tour of England last year, where they lost the Test series 4-1, the captain stood out for his fighting performances all tour, proving conclusively that he had overcome the demons of 2014. This came in for praise from the Almanack.

“Despite finishing on the losing side, India captain Virat Kohli shone with the bat, laying to rest his struggles in England in 2014 by scoring a magnificent 593 runs in five Tests, a full 244 more than his nearest rival on either side," it said.

Highlighting his achievements outside the England series, it added, “Virat Kohli wins [Leading Cricketer of the Year] for an unprecedented third year in a row, scoring 2,735 runs across the international formats – more than 700 clear of Joe Root in second place. His Test batting, especially in England, was magnificent, while his 50-over form moved to a new level – if that was possible.”

Mandhana, who recently discussed her desire to be more like Kohli in finishing games, found favour for "a string of eye-catching innings for India", while Rashid " claimed 96 wickets in all T20 matches – a record for a calendar year – and proved hard to hit in whichever tournament he played”.

Beaumont, with her win, became only the sixth woman to receive the honour (not counting the annual awards handed out by the Almanack's sister publications outside the UK) for a home season during which she made hundreds in both limited-overs formats.

"In nine days in June, Tammy Beaumont confirmed the talent that had made her the leading run-scorer at the 2017 World Cup. She scored three white-ball hundreds against South Africa, the third from only 47 deliveries, an England T20 record. Her international tally for the summer was 628, another England record, beating Jan Brittin’s 595 in 1984,” her tribute pointed out.

Buttler’s batting across formats came in for praise, as being "one of the highlights" of the year. "Recalled to the Test side, he scored 510 runs in seven home Tests, more than any of his team-mates, and registered his first century, against India at Trent Bridge. He also produced one of the great one-day innings, an unbeaten 110 to see off Australia by one wicket at Old Trafford," the Almanack said.

Of Curran, who was Player of the Series against India, it said: “Sam Curran was central to England’s 4-1 Test win over India, the world’s No. 1-ranked side, turning the games at Edgbaston and Southampton with hard-hit half-centuries. He also removed India’s top three in eight balls at Edgbaston, and continued his form in Sri Lanka with a six-filled 64 in Pallekele.”

For Burns, meanwhile, the award capped off a year in which he crossed 1000 first-class runs for his county side, Surrey, led them to the Championship title and made his Test debut.

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