World XI: Taylor misses out
Who'd make your cricket World XI?
What are your picks for a test cricket World XI? Tim Barringer makes some strong and solid choices.
1. David Warner (AUS): I think Graeme Smith is probably a safer choice here, but given the solidity of the top order below and his recent dominance against England I'd give Warner the nod.
His ability to destroy a team in the opening overs with brutal hitting, and more so his ability to do this relatively consistently, get him through. He also offers an outstanding set of hands and constant energy.
2. Hashim Amla (SA): An absolute run machine for the last few years, impossible to not select. Can score consistently massive scores from the top of the order. Would have him opening for the World XI given his experience.
3. Kane Williamson (NZ): Going from strength to strength in both forms of the game at the moment and showing maturity for a young player. Has had some time to mature in the international environment after being cast in at a very young age, and has started to dominate all attacks of recent.
Also offers outstanding fielding ability and handy as a back up spinner to bowl a few overs.
4. Cheteshwar Pujara (IND): Pretty close run between Pujara and Kohli at this stage, but Pujara has probably shown more of an ability to go on to large scores . Still young but looks to be an awesome talent.
5. Kumar Sangakarra (SL): Has been consistently one of the world's best with the bat in a team which has been wholly inconsistent in test cricket. Continues to flay attacks from all over the world in all forms, including tests, has the ability to score massively, and also offers an option as a world class wicket keeper.
6. Michael Clarke (AUS): Still all class - batting at 6 suits him well as he is one of the world's best at playing spin.
Very shrewd cricketer, batting form has not been the greatest over recent years but he has the ability to destroy any bowling attack and is an excellent slip fielder.
7. AB De Villiers (SA): Would be pushing for this side as a batsmen only, but his ability with the gloves or in the field means he makes it easily. Either De Villiers or Sangakarra can keep here, both are outstanding.
De Villiers has an uncanny knack of scoring big runs through the middle order, and his ability to adapt and bat in different situations means he would be capable of batting with the top order for a big partnership, or guiding the tail enders through to a solid score.
8. Vernon Philander (SA): Unique ability to move the ball both ways and creates chances against even the best batting line ups. His stellar average and strike rate back this up. Would take a lot of wickets bowling off the back of Harris and Steyn. Not at all shabby with the bat as well.
9. Ryan Harris (AUS): Unsung hero of the Australian bowling line up, his bowling allowed Mitchell Johnson to dominate in the recent Ashes series, creating pressure that Johnson could attack. His own average and strike rate are both outstanding and as long as he can avoid injuries he holds his place here against James Anderson.
10. Dale Steyn (SA): World's best bowler, nuff said.
11. Saeed Ajmal (PAK): I found filling the spinner's position the hardest, since there hasn't really been a dominant spin bowler in test cricket (Graeme Swann has been excluded given his retirement). It probably has to be between the subcontinent sides, leaving Ravichandran Ashwin or Ajmal as top dogs. Ajmal has consistently been very miserly while taking a lot of wickets at a good average.
12. Ross Taylor (NZ): Performed exceptionally well against the West Indies and is probably unlucky to miss out here. Really starting to settle in and may become New Zealand's most prolific test batsmen as his average increases. Offers great ability in the field too.
13. Virat Kohli (IND): Dominant in ODI formats but yet to cement himself as a test performer. Got an outstanding hundred against the South Africans recently which indicates he is on the verge of breaking in. If he can settle at that level will be unstoppable. Pujara edges him out here given his ability to score big centuries.
14. Misbah ul-Haq (PAK): The man scores a heap of runs patiently and consistently for Pakistan from the middle order. In a stronger team his conversion rate of 50s to 100s would probably be substantially better, he seems forever destined to run out of partners in the Pakistan line up. Misses out here with some more prolific scorers (De Villiers, Clarke, Sangakarra ) filling up the middle order.
15. James Anderson (ENG): I read somewhere that if Dales Steyn is the world's best test bowler, Anderson is the world's smartest. Has ridiculous control over the swinging ball and will bowl all day if required. The likes of Philander and Harris' recent form and record are keeping him out here. Would replace Ajmal if the deck didn't offer anything for spin.
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