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2018 Test Team of the Year



Last Updated on 5 years by Charbel Coorey

2018 Test Team of the Year

2018 has come and gone (very quickly). It is time to have a look back at the best performers in Test Cricket in the calendar year, which is a very tough ask given the number of excellent performers.

Who gets in your side?

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1. Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka) – 743 runs at 46.43

Dimuth Karunaratne was unlucky to miss out on last year’s Test side, but this year he makes it. He was especially brilliant in the series against South Africa, scoring 356 runs in two Tests. He scored just the single century, but he was consistent, and deserves to be in the XI.

2. Dean Elgar (South Africa) – 661 runs at 36.72

Tom Latham scored 658 runs at a much better average of 59.81, but that doesn’t tell the full story.

Dean Elgar scored some of the toughest runs you’ll see in 2018, including his 86* on a brutal Johannesburg pitch vs India, 141* against Australia in Cape Town and 50 on a tough Centurion pitch against Pakistan. Remove Tom Latham’s 264* against Sri Lanka on a flat Wellington pitch (excellent innings, of course), and his figures drop to 394 runs at 35.82. Both Latham and Elgar struggled in Asia this year, but Elgar’s gritty runs gets him the nod.

CricBlog Test Team of the Year 2018 Cricket Opinion
2018 Test Team of the Year: Dean Elgar carried hit bat on a tough Johannesburg pitch vs India

3. Kane Williamson (New Zealand) – 651 runs at 59.18

It is a shame New Zealand played just seven Tests this year, but Kane Williamson was magnificent in just about all of them. His superb performances in the UAE was the highlight, delivering a great series win for the Black Caps against Pakistan. All class.

4. Virat Kohli (c) (India) – 1,322 runs at 55.08

Virat Kohli captains the best XI of 2018. This is, in my opinion, Virat Kohli’s best ever year. It began with critics highlighting his need to score away from Asia, especially in England. He was superb in both South Africa and England, topping the run charts in both those series, played in bowler-friendly conditions. He is also on the brink of delivering a first ever series win for India in Australia. A great year.

CricBlog Test Team of the Year 2018 Cricket Opinion
2018 Test Team of the Year: Virat Kohli was absolutely outstanding.

5. AB de Villiers (South Africa) – 638 runs at 53.16

Henry Nicholls (658 runs at 73.11) and Babar Azam (616 runs at 56.00) are extremely unlucky to miss out here. However, AB de Villiers can’t be left out. He was arguably the difference for South Africa against India, and played a huge role in helping the Proteas beat Australia 3-1. He was absolutely superb in bowler friendly conditions. We miss having him in international cricket.

6. BJ Watling (wk) (New Zealand) – 355 runs at 35.50

The man for a crisis. Again, it’s the really tough runs that wins it for me. New Zealand were 36/5 in pursuit of England’s 307 in the second Test in March/April, and Watling made a resolute 85 to get New Zealand on an even keel. New Zealand were 72/4 in the third and deciding Test against Pakistan, and Watling batted 250 balls for his 77 to help get New Zealand to 274. Solid as always, Watling is arguably the best keeper-batsman in Test Cricket.

Tim Paine was solid this year in a tough one for Australia (493 runs at 35.21), Rishabh Pant has had a solid start to Test Cricket (537 runs at 38.35) and Jos Buttler played mostly as a batsman (superb 760 runs at 44.10).

7. Pat Cummins (Australia) – 44 wickets at 19.97

The competition for bowling places is incredible in the 2018 Test Team of the Year. It truly was the year for the bowlers. Pat Cummins gets in at number seven, as he is so capable of batting in that position. He has been Australia’s standout bowler, taking 44 wickets at under 20, bowling beautifully against South Africa and India, after storming home to top the wicket taking charts in the Ashes at the start of the year.

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8. Kagiso Rabada (South Africa) – 52 wickets at 20.07

The world’s premier fast bowler. We all know how brilliant he is at home, as he played a key role in series wins over India and Australia. However, he also bowled well in difficult conditions for seamers in Sri Lanka, taking eight wickets in two Tests at 23.84.

CricBlog Test Team of the Year 2018 Cricket Opinion
2018 Test Team of the Year: Kagiso Rabada continues to be brilliant.

9. Nathan Lyon (Australia) – 49 wickets at 34.02

Nathan Lyon had an off-colour tour of South Africa, but his performances in the UAE (where he outbowled Yasir Shah) and India at home have been excellent. He picked up the man of the match award in Perth after nearly guiding Australia home in Adelaide.

10. Mohammad Abbas (Pakistan) – 38 wickets at 13.76

An absolutely extraordinary year from Mohammad Abbas. He was man of the match in Pakistan’s great win at Lord’s in May, and then followed it up with a fine display of seam bowling on flat UAE tracks against Australia. He is likely to be fit for the second Test against South Africa, and he can cause havoc on seaming pitches.

11. Jasprit Bumrah (India) – 48 wickets at 21.02

What an introduction to Test Cricket. This man is yet to play a Test in India, but has already put a marker down as a mainstay in the India side for years to come. His relentless accuracy and pace has been a feature of his bowling, and it is easy to see why India missed him so badly in the first two Tests against England earlier this year. A fine bowler.

Players unlucky to miss out on the 2018 Test Team of the Year:

Tom Latham: As mentioned, Latham was considered, but pipped at the post.

Kusal Mendis: The only player, along with Virat Kohli, to reach 1,000 runs for the year. However, substandard series against South Africa and England means he just misses out.

Joe Root: 948 runs with lots of starts. Finally broke his century drought.

Cheteshwar Pujara: Having a fine series against Australia, but wasn’t at his best in South Africa and England.

Henry Nicholls: Incredibly unlucky to miss out. A fine year from a much improved cricketer.

Babar Azam: Really finding his feet as a Test cricketer.

Jason Holder: Arguably the unluckiest to miss out. His figures are absolutely outstanding, and includes a 50 and five-wicket haul in India. However, home series against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh on seamer friendly tracks has no doubt helped boost his figures, meaning he misses out to players with consistent performances against higher ranked sides.

Dilruwan Perera: Superb year for Perera, finishing with 50 wickets. Excellent home series against South Africa and England. However, his away stats (12 wickets at 60.91) hurt his chances.

Yasir Shah: The fastest man to 200 Test wickets. Really unlucky to miss out after a fine series against New Zealand.

James Anderson: A fine year for Anderson, showing his class again in England. Just the one wicket in two Tests in Sri Lanka, though, so not enough to get in over the other seamers.

Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami: Part of India’s fine pace trio, but the other seam bowlers had slightly better consistency.

Trent Boult: Another fine year for the New Zealand seamer, with the highlight running through England in March.

So, one of the toughest “Test Team of the Year” articles one can hope to write.

It was truly a bowlers’ year, with a number of fine performances lighting up the format.

As always, feel free to leave a comment! Here’s to a great 2019.

Thanks for reading!

2018 Test Team of the Year

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Coorey
Charbel is the owner & founder of, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at

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