Ranking the Best Test Captains of 2018

Shreyas

Virat Kohli and Joe Root had a great 2018, both as a captain and as a batsman

2018 was a glorious year for Test Cricket as two associate nations, Ireland (vs Pakistan) and Afghanistan (vs India) made their Test debut and attained the elite honour of cricket. The game with the red leather has been fascinating to watch with many exciting contests between bat and ball. There were only five drawn matches out of 48 Test matches where were played in 2018.

New Zealand's and England's performance in the sub-continental conditions and India's performances Down Under have been the standout performances in 2018. Having said that, let's take a look at how the Test Captains fared in 2018.

Note: The Captains have been ranked based on the win percentage and individual performances.

Only Captains who have played more than four Tests were considered.

#9 Tim Paine

Win-Loss Ratio: 1:4

Australia had a year to forget especially in red-ball cricket. Post the sandpaper incident, the Team Australia almost made it a habit to lose matches by large margins. Despite efforts from the senior players of the team like Shaun Marsh and skipper Tim Paine and their bowlers, Australia could win only three out of the 10 matches they played this year.

They won a Test match against England early in 2018 but lost 1-3 to South Africa in a controversial series before losing 0-1 to Pakistan in a two-match series and are in a losing position against India in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Their captain Tim Paine, though, had a decent year and scored 493 runs in 10 matches averaging 35.21.

#8 Kraigg Brathwaite

Win-Loss Ratio: 3:5

The West Indies cricket team had a sub-par outing in all formats of the game and so did their captain Kraigg Brathwaite. The opener could score just 391 runs in nine matches averaging just 24.43. The Windies managed to win just three out of the nine matches they played. They lost five games in 2018. They beat Bangladesh in a 2-Test series at home but lost to them when playing in Bangladesh. They managed to draw a series against Sri Lanka but lost 2-0 to India.

#7 Shakib Al Hasan

Win Loss Ratio: 2:2

Bangladesh played only eight Test Matches this year and fared averagely. In spite of losing matches, they discovered many young talents and witnessed the comeback of players like Taijul Islam and Mominul Haque. Shakib Al Hasan was made the captain but couldn't play the few Tests they played due to a finger injury and the team was led by Mahamudullah who had an average time with the bat for the series against Sri Lanka in Jan-Feb and against Zimbabwe later in the year. Mahmudullah played all the eight matches scoring 476 runs with an average of close to 40 and picked up 2 wickets.

They shared the series with Zimbabwe and lost 0-1 to Sri Lanka. Under Shakib, the team played 4 Tests against the West Indies - two away and two at home. They lost both the matches away from home and hit back when the Windies toured them. Shakib was on fire and scored 213 runs from 4 matches averaging 31 and was splendid with the ball picking up 17 wickets at a brilliant bowling average of 19.35.

#6 Suranga Lakmal

Lakmal as a captain has done much better than Chandimal

Win Loss Ratio: 3:2

Sri Lanka blew hot and cold in 2018 as far as Test match cricket was concerned. They were led by Dinesh Chandimal for most of the year while Lakmal led the team for five games. They were more successful under Lakmal winning three out of five games ( One against West Indies and a couple against South Africa). However, Lakmal lost both his games against England at home as the captain.

Under Dinesh Chandimal, they won just one out of seven games, losing three matches. They beat Bangladesh but suffered losses to West Indies, England and New Zealand. Sri Lanka discovered a lot of stars in their team who despite their losses, managed to perform well. Dilruwan Perera, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews were standout performers last year.

#5 Sarfraz Ahmed

Win Loss Ratio: 4:4

2018 has been an year of positives for Pakistan in the shorter format of the game. They are now at the top of ICC T20I Rankings and have been improving in ODIs. However in Tests, they played a total of nine Tests losing four out of them.

Pakistan's captain Sarfraz didn't have a great year in terms of his performance as he scored just 337 runs in nine matches at a sub-par batting average of 24.07. Pakistan won a one-off Test against Ireland and won a 2-match series against Australia while losing 1-2 in a closely contested series against New Zealand. They have also lost the first Test against South Africa in an ongoing series at South Africa.

#4 Virat Kohli

Win Loss Ratio: 6:7

India have had a great year in Tests though the stats show otherwise. They have played quality cricket against strong opponents away from home while defending home turf very well. They lost 1-2 to South Africa in a series which they could've won and 1-4 to England where they were good in most parts of the game. India's 4th Innings batting let them down on many occasions this season. They won 2-0 against West Indies and won a one-off Test against Afghanistan and Ajinkya Rahane led India that match.

They are now on course for a historic series win against Australia leading 2-1 in the series. There have been many new talents like Prithvi Shaw, Jasprit Bumrah. Kohli has been at his best in 2018. He has scored a staggering 1322 runs in 13 matches at a great batting average of 55.08. All in all, India have won 7 and lost 7 with scope for results being completely in their favor. As a captain, Kohli has been good and deserves ro be higher but due to the ratio, this is where he stands.

#3 Faf Du Plessis

South Africa was one of the successful sides in Test Cricket in 2018

Win Loss Ratio: 6:4

South Africa have had a great year in 2018 and have played some exciting cricket against oppositions. They won 6 out of 10 matches under Du Plessis' captaincy. The captain himself hasn't had a great time and has struggled to find his form.

The right-hand batsman scored 463 runs in 10 matches at an average of 24.36. Kagiso Rabada was at his menacing best as South Africa won series' against India, Pakistan and Australia losing only to Sri Lanka.

#2 Kane Williamson

Win Loss Ratio: 4:1

New Zealand have been the silent-killers of 2018 and have managed to win games without much fuss. They have won four out of the seven matches they played losing just one game against Pakistan. Kane Williamson is garnering high praise from all around for his performances and has led this team with tact and passion.

He has led from the front in terms of performance and has scored 651 runs in 7 matches at a great average of 59.14. He led New Zealand to beat Pakistan in the Sub-Continental conditions which is a rare feat for overseas teams.

#1 Joe Root

Win Loss Ratio: 8:4

2018 has been a groundbreaking year for England. They have played attacking and entertaining cricket and have managed to win matches with style. Their batting has been brilliant and led by Joe Root, England managed to win eight out of their 13 matches played losing four. Alastair Cook had a dream retirement scoring a hundred in his last game against India. Root scored 948 runs in 13 matches averaging 41.21.

England white-washed Sri Lankan in Sri Lanka for the first time in their cricketing history under the captaincy of Joe Root.