With the inaugural ICC World Test Championship final upon us, it's time to name a team of the tournament. Take a look at 10 of the contenders.
ICC WTC Team of the Tournament contenders: Volume 1
Virat Kohli – India – Batter – 14 matches – 877 runs at 43.85
The captain oversaw seven straight victories to start India’s WTC campaign, as his team clean swept the West Indies, South Africa and Bangladesh. He produced one of the finest performances of the WTC in India’s victory over the Proteas at Pune, scoring an unbeaten 254 off 336 deliveries. Three Tests later he went big again, scoring a quickfire 136 in India’s maiden day-night Test against Bangladesh. That proved to be his final century of the tournament, but he was still a crucial performer throughout, scoring a further five half-centuries. That included a key 62 in the second Test against England at Chennai, where he put on a masterclass against the turning ball.
Tom Latham – New Zealand – Batter – 11 Tests – 680 runs at 40
The Black Caps’ Mr Reliable at the top of the order, Latham was at the heart of New Zealand’s first win of the WTC campaign. The opener scored a brilliant 154 against Sri Lanka in Colombo to help New Zealand to a series-levelling victory, which proved crucial to making June’s final. That was his lone ton of the campaign, but he was pivotal in their important run of five straight victories at home, scoring four half-centuries in that time.
Mushfiqur Rahim – Bangladesh – Batter – 6 Tests – 453 runs at 45.3
Relieved of wicket-keeping duties, Mushfiqur has shone as a specialist batter for Bangladesh, passing 50 in four of his 11 WTC innings. He was the second-highest run-scorer in the Test series against India in 2019, with only Mayank Agarwal scoring more than his 181 at 45.25. He notably made half-centuries at Indore and Kolkata. He was similarly impressive against Sri Lanka this year, making 148 at 74.
Kyle Mayers – West Indies – All-rounder – 5 Tests – 475 runs at 52.77 – 4 wickets at 28.75
A late entrant into the WTC fold, Mayers made every post a winner in 2021. The batting all-rounder well and truly made his presence felt on debut against Bangladesh, scoring an unbeaten 210 to inspire a chase of 395 – no mean feat at all on a day five pitch in the subcontinent. It was his lone ton of the WTC but he would go on to make two half-centuries. His seam bowling came in handy for the West Indies as he picked up four wickets in the series against Sri Lanka.
Jos Buttler – England – Wicket-keeper – 18 Tests – 963 runs at 33.2 – 49 catches and one stumping
Good enough to be picked on his batting alone, Buttler kept in 13 of his 18 WTC matches, completing 50 dismissals in that time. Only Australia’s Tim Paine completed more over the course of the tournament. With the bat, Buttler’s best performance came against Pakistan at Southampton, where he hit a measured 152 and enjoyed a 359-run fifth-wicket stand that got England out of trouble. That was his lone ton of the campaign, but he managed four further 50+ scores.
Mohammed Rizwan – Pakistan – Wicket-keeper – 12 Tests – 741 runs at 46.31 – 31 catches and one stumping
Now entrenched in Pakistan’s team as their No.1 glovesman across all formats, Rizwan emerged as one of Test cricket’s finest wicket-keeper batter over the course of the WTC. More than reliable behind the stumps, Rizwan was seriously impressive in front of them too. The keeper passed 50 in seven of his 18 innings, notching a century in a Pakistan victory over South Africa. He was the second-highest run-scorer among keepers in the tournament with comfortably the best average.
Kyle Jamieson – New Zealand – Bowler – 6 Tests – 36 wickets at 13.27
Jamieson entered the WTC tournament late but has been irrepressible since making his Test debut in February against India. He took 4/39 that match and followed it with 5/45 in the second Test in an ominous sign for India ahead of the WTC final. Across his six matches to date, he had already taken four five-wicket hauls, with two coming in his most recent Test against Pakistan. His average of 13.27 is the best of any bowler with more than 30 wickets in the tournament, with Ishant Sharma’s 17.36 a distant second.
Stuart Broad – England – Bowler – 17 Tests – 69 wickets at 20.08
The veteran seamer was the tournament’s second-highest wicket-taker, finishing just one victim behind Pat Cummins. Closing in on his 35th birthday, Broad still looks to have plenty of years left in the tank as a Test cricketer. He was England’s highest wicket-taker at the Ashes (23 at 26.65), and went on to dominate the West Indies (16 at 10.93), South Africa (14 at 19.42) and Pakistan (13 at 16.46). His best performance came in the series decider against the West Indies, taking 6/31 in the first innings and 4/36 in the second. He also became just the fourth fast bowler to join the 500 Test wicket club.
Stuart Broad's return of 4/48 in the first innings has seen him overtake Courtney Walsh!— ICC (@ICC) June 12, 2021
He sits firmly on No.6 in the all-time Test wicket-takers' list 👏 📈#ENGvNZ pic.twitter.com/XN3RUUgUFN
Mitchell Starc – Australia – Bowler – 10 Tests – 44 wickets at 24.54
A key part of one of Australia’s greatest ever attacks, Starc was at his best in the summer of 2019-20, tormenting Pakistan and New Zealand’s batters. The left-arm tyro took 14 wickets at 17.00 against Pakistan, following a four-for at the Gabba with a six-wicket haul at Adelaide Oval. He backed up that campaign with 15 at 17.86 against New Zealand, taking nine wickets in the Perth Test. While he was not as effective the following summer, he was crucial in Australia’s series-opening win over India, taking 4/53.
Suranga Lakmal – Sri Lanka – Bowler – 7 Tests – 20 wickets at 25.55
The veteran seamer has been Sri Lanka’s best bowler in Test cricket for the past two years and shone in their first match of the tournament, taking 4/29 in a six-wicket win against New Zealand. It was form that would return to him in the Caribbean earlier this year, as he took out Player of the Series honours in the West Indies-Sri Lanka series after claiming 11 wickets at 21.45 across the two Tests.