India retain ICC Test Championship Mace for the third year in a row

India retained the ICC Test Championship Mace for the third time in a row after finishing as the No.1 Test side for the 2018-19 season – the cut of date for which was April 1.

The Virat Kohli-led side are in line to pocket USD one million, while New Zealand have ensured second place.

A top place finish was never in doubt for India, captained by Kohli, the number one Test batsman in the world, after claiming a historic 2-1 series win against Australia in January earlier this year. New Zealand, on the other hand, rode on their consistent performances over the past year to climb one spot from third position, needing them to only avoid losing the home series against Bangladesh last month to finish at the same position.

The Kane Williamson-led side, who also had the satisfaction of seeing their captain get the ICC Spirit of Cricket award for 2018, earned USD 500,000 after finishing with 108 points, eight behind India.

South Africa, who had finished second the previous two times, will now get a prize money of USD 200,000 for finishing third with 105 points while Australia who edged out England on decimal points at 104 points bag USD 100,000.

International Cricket Council chief executive Manu Sawhney congratulated the Indian team while reiterating the importance of Test cricket and looking forward to the start of the ICC World Test Championship later this year.

commenting on the achievement the Indian captain 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,” he added.

NZ 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.”