With the upcoming World XI T20 games against Pakistan, we here at The Pavilion got reminiscing of the disastrous World XI series against Australia. Whilst those sides that were thrashed by the Aussies were made up of some of the best players in the world at the time, not all of the Test nations were represented. So we wondered, what would a truly representative World Test XI look like? With a rule of one player per nation. As there are now 12 Test teams, one will unfortunately miss out on being in the side.
Here’s what we came up with.
Lokesh Rahul 1,200 @ 44.44: With a FC average of 53.70 and a test match average of 44.44 from 17 games, Rahul has established himself at the top of India’s batting order and is garnering a growing reputation in the test arena as a batsman who could be round for many years to come.
Dimuth Karunaratne 2,568 @ 34.23: Rahul’s opening partner, Karunaratne has been around for a while and only averages 34.24 in 40 tests, but a 97 against India in tough conditions is a sign that he has what it takes, and at 29 years of age he has plenty left in the tank.
Steve Smith 5,251 @ 61.05: No need for an introduction here, Smith has the best numbers of any of the ‘big 4’ (Kohli, Root, Williamson) so is a shoe in for my team. He normally bats at 4 for the Aussies, but with an average of 61.05 in tests, the difference between 3 and 4 for him is non-existent. In 27 innings at number 3, he has scored 1,670 runs at 69.58, including 8 tonnes and 5 half centuries. Enough said.
Kane Williamson 5,116 @ 51.16: Another member of the ‘big 4’, Williamson has been up there with the worlds best for a long long time and is by far New Zealand’s best player. No other Kiwi came close to consideration for this team as Williamson is so far ahead. He can also bowl part time offies if needed.
Ben Stokes 2,120 @ 34.19 and 86 wickets @ 34.46: This beautiful man could get in any team based on his batting, bowling, and probably fielding alone. A player who exudes class and loves a tough battle, Stokes has the X factor that not many players can boast. He seemingly loves to play against South Africa, against whom he scored the 2nd ever fastest double hundred, when he bashed 258 of 198 balls, which included 41 boundaries. Only recently he was at it again against the Proteas. Last week he scored 112 against the Saffers, brining up his century with 3 consecutive straight 6s. Freddie Flintoff has said that Stokes is already better than himself and Ian Botham. High praise for a world class cricketer.
Shakib al Hasan 3,479 @ 40.92 and 176 @ 33.04: One of Bangladesh’s all time greats, Shakib is a genuine all-rounder who can cause problems for any batsman. Shakib became the first ever player to be the number 1 ranked all-rounder by the ICC in all three formats (Test, ODI, T20I). He is one of only 3 people to have scored a century and taken 10 wickets in a test match. He scored 137 and took match figures of 10-124 against Zimbabwe in 2014 when Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe by 162 runs.
Peter Moor (wk) 270 @ 33.75: Having established himself as Zimbabwe’s test wicketkeeper, Moor helped Zimbabwe pull of a stunning series victory over Sri Lanka in ODI’s, but he hasn’t been able to prove himself on the test arena thus far due to the low amounts of test cricket nations like Zimbabwe get. He has 2 fifties to his name in 8 innings in test cricket, and a high score of 157 in FC cricket showing that that talent is there. Players like Moor need more test cricket in order to achieve their potential.
Roston Chase 728 @ 48.53 and 17 @ 52.23: Chase has only played 10 test matches for the West Indies, but is already showing signs of becoming a quality player, with 3 hundreds and 3 fifties already to his name, the world is at the feet of this 25-year-old all rounder. He hasn’t taken to bowling in the test arena as well as he has to batting, but give him time and Chase could be up there with the Shakib al Hasan’s of this world.
Vernon Philander 1,186 @ 25.78 and 171 @ 22.45: Big Vern is one of the best wicket to wicket bowlers around and became the quickest man to reach 50 test wickets in terms of balls bowled and time taken (days instead of matches). Philander can also bat a bit, boasting 7 test fifties and a domestic FC ton in South Africa.
Mohammad Amir 94 @ 31.47: Amir burst onto the world stage as a 17-year-old, and after some time off he is back and better than ever, helping Pakistan to their first ever Champions Trophy. At 25 years old Amir has much more to offer an will hope to put past issues behind him and fulfil the potential that is there for all to see.
Rashid Khan 20 @ 13.25: Having not played a test match yet due to being from Afghanistan, Khan boasts an enviable FC record, having picked up 20 wickets in only 2 matches with his leg-spin, with 8-74 against England Lions being a highlight. He picked up the wickets of England’s new test number 3, Tom Westley LBW, and Liam Livingstone, who has featured in T20I’s for England, LBW again. He could walk into any test nations squad, and at the tender age of 18 he has a dazzlingly bright future, especially considering that Afghanistan have just been granted test status by the ICC.