India skipper Virat Kohli retained the ICC Test Championship Mace after his side held on to the top spot of the ICC Test Team Rankings. ICC Cricket Hall of Famers, Sunil Gavaskar and Graeme Pollock presented the mace to Kohli after the conclusion of the 3rd T20I between India and South Africa which the visitors went on to win by 7 runs. The Indian cricket team were also awarded with prize money of USD 1 million.
In a video released on ICC Twitter, the Indian captain expressed his gratitude to Indian cricket teams fans around the world for their support. “Having received the ICC Test mace twice in a row is a very special feeling for all of us in the Indian cricket team and the support staff as well. I want to thank all the fans of the Indian cricket team all around the world for making this possible – for supporting us in big numbers where ever we play and motivating us in the tough times,” the 29-year old said.
— ICC (@ICC) 25 February 2018
The right-hand batsman, who scored a century in the 2nd Test against South Africa at Centurion, and then smacked three centuries in the ODI series, promised that the team will continue to work hard in the coming months. “We promise you that we will keep the hard work going, we will try to entertain as much as possible and keep Indian cricket as high as we can for as many years as possible,” Kohli said.
Kohli further described India’s feat as a “collective effort” of the fans and the team and said that his side will require more support with tougher away series coming in the next few months. “It’s been a collective effort of the fans and the team and hopefully in the next coming 12-18 months, where we are going to play a lot of tough cricket away from home, we hope that we can get the same kind of support from all the fans across the world,” he said.
“We are very thankful and grateful to all of you and now we are looking forward to seeing in the stadiums again,” Kohli added.
India lost the first two Tests against South Africa but showed determination to make a stark comeback in the third Test on the difficult Wanderers pitch. The side led by Kohli further showed dominance in the limited overs cricket, winning the ODI series 5-1 and then going on to win the T20I series 2-1 to make it a rare double series win in the country.
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