Young 'uns, young guns
D'Arcy Short (Australia)
ODIs: 83 runs at 27.66 (4 matches)
T20Is: 515 runs at 121.17 SR (18 matches)
Short's second coming (he played state cricket in 2011 before almost disappearing off the circuit) was more emphatic than his first. The first indigenous batsman to represent Australia, he made it into the national side on the back of stellar performances in the Big Bash and JLT Cup, and made a mark in the T20I tri-series against England and New Zealand at the start of 2018, with four scores of 30-plus, including a fifty in the final. Though traditionally an opener, his biggest ODI score of the year, 47 not out, came down the order, against England.
Heinrich Klaasen (South Africa)
ODIs: 251 runs at 25.10, 16 catches, 2 stumpings (12 matches)
T20Is: 144 runs at 169.41, 6 catches
Klaasen broke into South African franchise cricket in 2016-17, and the following season made it into internationals with ODI and T20I debuts in the home series against India. In the rain-affected, shortened fourth ODI, he saw his side home in a chase steep even by T20 standards, with 43 not out, keeping them alive in a series where they trailed 0-3. His top T20I score of the year, 69, came after South Africa, behind in the series again, fell to 38 for 2 chasing 189.
Jack Leach (England)
Tests: 20 wickets at 24.90 (4 matches)
Slow left-armer Leach made an unimpressive debut against New Zealand in March 2018, and then was sidelined for much of the year with a thumb injury. Come the Sri Lanka tour, though, he was a standout in England's landmark 3-0 series win, taking 18 wickets at 21.38, including eight in the Pallekele Test, to top the bowling charts for his side in a series heavily dominated by spinners.
Shaheen Afridi (Pakistan)
Tests: 8 wickets at 31.75 (2 matches)
ODIs: 13 wickets at 17.61 (6 matches)
T20Is: 11 wickets at 14.10 SR (7 matches)
The only one on this list to have played all three international formats in 2018, tall left-arm fast bowler Afridi also became the first cricketer born this century to represent Pakistan when he turned out in the third T20I against West Indies in Karachi in April. He took two four-fors back to back against New Zealand last November, and a healthy 1.5 wickets per T20I in a year when Pakistan continued their run as kings of the format. Afridi capped the year with a Test five-for in Centurion in December.
Sam Curran (England)
Tests: 404 runs at 36.72, 14 wickets at 25.14 (7 matches)
ODIs: 17 runs at 8.50, 2 wickets at 45.00 (2 matches)
Curran, the son of former Zimbabwe allrounder Kevin Curran, was the Player of the Series in the Test matches against India, and in Virat Kohli's estimation, the difference between the two sides. He certainly was that in the first Test, where he took the wickets of India's top three in their second innings and then rescued England from the depths of 87 for 7 with a run-a-ball 63. The 11-run difference between his Test batting and bowling averages in 2018 spoke of his value to England.
Khaleel Ahmed (India)
ODIs: 11 wickets at 24.00 (6 matches)
T20Is: 6 wickets at 23.00 SR (6 matches)
Coming into the India side after having impressed in U-19 cricket, left-arm medium-pacer Khaleel made his international debut in the second half of 2018. His standout performance came in the fourth ODI against West Indies at home, when he got rid of the visitors' middle order with a wicket each in three successive overs. He had two two-wicket bags in the year in T20Is and struck at an impressive 23 in his six matches in the format.
Prithvi Shaw (India)
Tests: 237 runs at 118.50 (2 matches)
After years of being talked up as India's next big thing in the wake of his record-breaking feats in schools cricket and elsewhere, Shaw played two Tests in 2018, against West Indies, and turned in top-notch performances in both. At 18, he became the youngest Indian to make a Test hundred on debut. He followed that up with 70 and 33 not out, taking his batting average for the year past 118.
Ajaz Patel (New Zealand)
Tests: 13 wickets at 35.84 (5 matches)
T20Is: 1 wicket at 36.00 SR (2 matches)
Slow left-armer Patel's debut Test was a thriller for the ages. Pakistan, chasing 176 for the win, began to stumble in the 130s. Patel got Sarfraz Ahmed caught behind, and Bilal Asif out bowled in his next over. Hasan Ali was his next wicket: 164 for 9. Azhar Ali and Mohammad Abbas hung grimly on for seven overs, but Patel struck again for his fifth, and a memorable win. All of his 13 Test wickets in 2018 came in that series against Pakistan.
Mayank Agarwal (India)
Tests: 118 runs at 59 (1 match)
Agarwal made a high-pressure debut in perhaps the most anticipated Test series of the year, coming in cold as an opener in the Melbourne Test with the series square 1-1. India's opening combination had been shambolic till that point, and Agarwal provided just the tonic that was needed, with 76 off 161 balls, playing out the fiery Pat Cummins and laying a platform that Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli built on for what proved to be a series-securing victory.
Ben Foakes (England)
Tests: 277 runs at 69.25 (3 matches), 8 catches, 2 stumpings
Young wicketkeeper-batsman Foakes was England's find of the year in Sri Lanka. In his first Test, in Galle, he came together with Sam Curran after the top order had cracked, leaving England 103 for 5, and put together an innings of composure and old-fashioned virtue. He followed up the hundred that took England to 342, setting the tone for the series, with a brisk 37 as they looked to declare later in the match, and added an unbeaten 65 in the Pallekele Test. As keeper, he rose admirably to the task of keeping to England's spin-heavy attack on the slow wickets of Sri Lanka.