Virat Kohli added another distinction to his bulging list of accomplishments by being named 'Leading Cricketer in the World' for the third consecutive year by the sport's most revered and authoritative publication – Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. To go along with that, he has also made it to the list of 'Five Cricketers of the Year' – an accolade based on performances during English cricket season.
He shares space in this hallowed list with four English cricketers – Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Rory Burns and Tammy Beaumont. There was even more joy for India as stylish left-handed opening batswoman Smriti Mandhana was chosen as the 'Leading Cricketer' in women's cricket.
The achievement of the Indian captain in being dubbed the leading world cricketer for the third consecutive year is unprecedented in the 156 years-old history of the publication – considered as the 'Bible of cricket.'
The 2019 edition of the annual compendium took into account the voracious run-scoring of Kohli in 2018. The Indian skipper played 13 Tests in the calendar year and plundered 1,322 runs at an average of 55.08 with five tons. What makes his feat exceptional is the fact that most of these matches were played by India in the three countries where they have traditionally struggled – South Africa, England and Australia.
A brilliant hundred in the second Test at Centurion against Proteas set the tone for a great year. This was followed by, arguably, his finest performance in an international series when the Delhi lad compiled 593 runs in a five-Test series in England. The fact that most of that series was played on helpful tracks for seamers and his pedestrian record in the country prior to it, added to the greatness of his effort.
When it comes to ODI cricket, Kohli seemed to break all barriers of success, scoring six hundreds and three fifties in just 14 matches. Half of his centuries last year came in a single series in South Africa. The ease with which Kohli made his way to three figures often made a mockery of opposition bowing attacks. Overall, Virat aggregated a staggering 2,735 runs in all international cricket.
Mandhana, on the other hand, continued to enhance her reputation as the most potent batswomen in world cricket, scoring 669 runs in 12 ODIs and 662 runs in T20Is. But it was in T20s that her performance soared thanks to a huge effort in Kia Super League (England's domestic T20 league) where she was the leading run-getter having scored 421 runs in just nine innings.