ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2018 Captain of the year nominees: the magnificent seven

Stand-ins, all-format leaders, Tests-only, limited-overs only - we have all sorts of captains among our nominees

Rohit Sharma appeals, 1st T20 cricket match, NIDAHAS Trophy, Sri Lanka v India, R Premadasa cricket ground, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 6 March 2018

India won 13 of the 14 limited-overs matches captained by Rohit Sharma  •  Associated Press

Rohit Sharma
ODIs: P5 W5
T20Is: P9 W8 L1

Rohit captained in 14 of the 39 limited-overs matches India played in 2018. He lost only one and won two titles - the Nidahas T20 Trophy and the 50-over Asia Cup. "Whatever I have seen of him [MS Dhoni] leading the side for all these years, he never panicked, took time while taking decisions. There are those similarities in me too. I also try to first think and then react," Rohit said after the Asia Cup win. Given Virat Kohli's massive workload and a captaincy style that can at times seem a little unimaginative, it's reassuring for India that they have a well-regarded stand-in.
Asghar Afghan
Tests: P1 L1
ODIs: P16 W11 L4 T1
T20Is: P7 W7

Of the four internationals Afghan missed this year while recovering from surgery for appendicitis, Afghanistan lost three - and they were in danger of not qualifying for the 2019 World Cup. The way they bounced back to win the World Cup Qualifiers speaks volumes of their self-belief (not to mention the presence of two world-class spinners and a biffer at the top of the order). Afghan leads a side that whitewashed Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in T20I series and beat West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh again, and tied with India in individual ODIs. Afghanistan also made their Test debut in 2018, but couldn't last more than two days against a strong India side.
Eoin Morgan
ODIs: P22 W16 L5 NR1
T20Is: P7 W4 L3

Over the last three years Morgan has transformed England's one-day side into a ruthless record-breaking run machine. In 2018, they became the world's No. 1 side, raising their own bar for the highest ODI total from 444 to 481, and winning series in Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, and against India in England. A large part of their success is owed to the impact batsmen like Alex Hales and Jonny Bairstow have at the top of the order, but it is Morgan who has inspired them to bat fearlessly.
Virat Kohli
Tests: P13 W6 L7
ODIs: P14 W9 L4 T1
T20Is: P10 W6 L3 NR1

After spending 2017 largely winning in the subcontinent, Kohli was handed his toughest assignment: Test tours to South Africa, England and Australia. India won a Test each in South Africa and in England, where the eventual 4-1 scoreline didn't quite reflect how competitive the series had been, and then retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia - an achievement that was not diminished by Steven Smith and David Warner's absence. Kohli's selections weren't always spot on, and sometimes his on-field tactics were questionable, but by the end of the year, he was doing better in both aspects and scoring runs and pushing his team to give their best at every moment.
Joe Root
Tests: P13 W8 L4 D1

In 2018, Root led England to a 3-0 whitewash in Sri Lanka. The last time England achieved a sweep like this away from home was in 1963. On a challenging tour, Root contributed with an important series-clinching hundred, backed his spinners, took the decision to stick with Ben Foakes as keeper-batsman after he made a hundred in the first Test, showed genuine appreciation for England's travelling fans, and (fortuitously) won all the tosses. He also led England to a 4-1 series win over India at home, which might have taken the sting out of the Test losses in Australia and New Zealand.
Faf du Plessis
Tests: P10 W6 L4
ODIs: P8 W6 L2
T20Is: P3 W3

South Africa continued to remain unbeaten at home in Tests under du Plessis, winning against India, Australia and Pakistan in 2018 to make it a total of six series undefeated. They were out of their depth in Sri Lanka but made up for the Test defeats by winning the one-dayers there, as well as in Australia later in the year, which bodes well for their World Cup plans, though they are now sans AB de Villiers.
Meg Lanning
ODIs: P6 W6
T20Is: P15 W14 L1

"Australian cricket has lost its balance... and has stumbled badly. The reputation of the game of cricket, as played by men, has been tainted. Women's cricket remains unaffected," said the review undertaken by Cricket Australia last year after the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town. You certainly didn't see any fallout from the Australian players' bitter pay dispute or the cultural review affecting Meg Lanning's side in 2018: they steamrolled last year's World Cup finalists, India, in India, and then beat England and India to win the T20I tri-series (also in India), beat New Zealand at home, and finished the year off by winning their fourth World T20 title.