India retains Test Championship Mace

Virat Kohli (captain) of India receives the ICC Test Mace from Sunil Gavaskar (left) and Graeme Pollock (right) after the 2018 T20 International between South Africa and India at Newlands Cricket Ground, Cape Town on 24 February 2018. Photo: backpagepix

CAPE TOWN - India captain Virat Kohli was on Saturday presented with the ICC Test Championship Mace as his team retained the top spot in the Test team rankings.

On behalf of the ICC, the mace was presented by ICC Cricket Hall of Famers Sunil Gavaskar and Graeme Pollock at a ceremony in Cape Town at the conclusion of India’s tour of South Africa.

India ensured the number one spot on the Test rankings and a prize of $1 million (R11.5m) after their victory in the Johannesburg Test against South Africa last month ensured that no team can move ahead of them in the Test rankings at the April 3 cut-off date.

India won the prize for a second year running and have now been at the top of the rankings since October 2016. They have also been at the top two times before under Kohli – in January-February 2016 and in August 2016. India’s longest stint at the number-one position was from November 2009 to August 2011, when Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the captain.

The other captains to have received the mace are Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Steve Smith (all Australia), Andrew Strauss (England), Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla (both South Africa) and Misbah-ul-Haq (Pakistan).

Kohli said: “It’s truly a great feeling to hold the ICC Test Championship mace again, which is an acknowledgement of our success in the truest format of the game.

“We’re proud of the way we have performed in Test matches over the past couple of years and our performances have reflected in the rankings. The quality of a side is judged in the way players step up when needed, and that is what our boys have done time and again.

“It is heartening to be at the top of the Test rankings in an era when it’s challenging to do consistently well across formats. But that is something that we have managed fairly well and something that I’d like my team to continue doing with their hard work and determination.

“I’d like to thank all players who have been part of our squads during this period and also the support staff for contributing to our success and for helping out in different aspects of the game. I’d also like to thank all our fans for supporting us across the globe.”

African News Agency

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