India have once again won the ICC Test Championship mace this year too. This is their third time running and as a result have won prize money of $ 1 million.The rankings are released up to the date of April 1.
Captained by the best Test batsman Virat Kohli, India were destined to retain the ICC Test Championship this year too. New Zealand’s consistent performances and their win against Bangladesh ensured they finished on second place.
The Kiwis have 108 points, which is 8 points behind India, and won $ 500,000. Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson also won the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award for 2018. Two times runners-up South Africa finished third with 105 points and got $ 200,000. Australia finished fourth with 104 points as they edged England on decimals and they receive $ 100,000.
ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney congratulated India and stated the importance of Test cricket. He is also looking forward to the next season.
Manu said, “I congratulate India on retaining the ICC Test Championship Mace and appreciate the passion Virat Kohli’s team has shown across formats over the past few years. It takes so much dedication and determination to consistently perform at the highest level in Test cricket.
“Test cricket has been enjoying a purple patch over the last couple of years with more positive results than ever and a genuine competitive balance between nations. The World Test Championship gets underway in August and will give fans greater context for all Test cricket providing an undisputed conclusion to some of the most renowned cricket rivalries in the international game.
“Nine Test nations will compete across 27 series and 71 Test matches to reach the ICC World Test Championship Final in 2021 where the World Test Champions will be crowned.”
Kohli and Williamson share their views
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India captain Virat Kohli said: “Retaining the ICC Test Championship Mace once again is something we are all really proud of. Our team has been doing well across formats but it gives us extra pleasure to come out on top of the Test rankings. We all know of the importance of Test cricket and of how only the best can prosper in the format.
“Our team has a lot of depth and I am sure this will stand us in good stead once the ICC World Test Championship commences later this year. That is again something we are really looking forward to as it adds more context to Test match cricket.”
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said: “It’s an awesome achievement for our side to finish second in the ICC Test Team Rankings and as a team we should be very proud. It’s come off the back of a lot of hard work and perseverance; not just by the eleven guys on the field, but the entire squad and support staff.
“It’s been especially pleasing to see the consistency we’ve shown in the longest form of the game over a decent period of time. We’re now all really looking forward to the ICC World Test Championship getting underway and the added context the competition will bring.”
ICC Test Team Rankings (as of 1 April 2019):
Also played: Afghanistan (two matches, one win, one loss, 25 points) and Ireland (two matches, two losses, no points), who will qualify for a full ranking after playing six more matches each.