The inaugural ICC World Test Championship final is almost upon us, which means it is time to pick a team of the tournament. Take a look at 10 of the contenders for selection and get voting.
Joe Root – England – Batter – 20 Tests – 1660 runs at 47.42
No player featured in more WTC Tests than the England captain, who fit in an incredible 20 Tests in the two years. He made those appearances count too, passing 50 on 11 occasions – the second-most times of any player. It was only this year that he scored his first century of the tournament, but once he did, the floodgates opened. His first WTC ton, against Sri Lanka at Galle, would turn into a 228-run effort. He followed that up with 186 in the second Test, and then started a blockbuster series against India with another double ton, as England won three consecutive Tests in Asia.
Marnus Labuschagne – Australia – Batter – 13 Tests – 1675 runs at 72.82
Labuschagne fell from the sky at the start of the WTC, blooming from promising young batter to world class star in the blink of an eye. The first concussion sub in the history of Test cricket, Labuschagne came into Australia’s Test team during the second encounter of the 2019 Ashes and has not looked back since. He finished his WTC campaign as the tournament’s highest run-scorer, with his five centuries the most of any player. Three of those hundreds came in consecutive innings in 2019-20, a summer in which he would also score a brilliant 215 against New Zealand.
Niroshan Dickwella – Sri Lanka – Wicket-keeper – 12 Tests – 753 runs at 39.63 – 28 catches and 3 stumpings
Dickwella’s long wait for a maiden Test century continues but the explosive wicket-keeper-batter was as reliable as ever in the WTC. Dickwella passed 50 in six of his 20 innings, with a top score of 96 against the West Indies in Antigua in March this year. That was one of two 90s for the tournament, with Dickwella cruelly denied a ton at Galle against England as well earlier this year.
Chris Woakes – England – All-rounder – 10 Tests – 296 runs at 24.66 – 30 wickets at 25.46
Woakes was not a constant in the England line-up, but regularly made his presence felt whenever he was there. His best performance came in the series decider at Manchester against the West Indies, where he took 5/50 to help set up a 269-run win. The seamer took 11 wickets that series at just 16.63 runs apiece. With the bat his best series came against Pakistan, averaging 71.50 against the Asian outfit, with a top score of 84 not out.
Ravindra Jadeja – India – All-rounder – 10 Tests – 469 runs at 58.62 – 28 wickets at 28.67
Electric with the bat, dynamic in the field and accurate as a laser with the ball, Jadeja shone in every facet in the WTC. The all-rounder stepped up with the bat throughout the WTC, starting in style with a half-century against the West Indies, before averaging 70.66 in the series against South Africa and 85.00 against Australia. With the ball, Jadeja’s best performances came against Australia (4/62) in Sydney and against South Africa (4/87) at Visakhapatnam.
Pat Cummins – Australia – Bowler – 14 Tests – 70 wickets at 21.02
Metronomic. Hostile. Unerring. Irrepressible. Cummins was the WTC’s top wicket-taker, tormenting every team he played. Though he only took the one five-wicket haul in his 14 matches, he was also only kept wicketless in two of his 28 innings with the ball. He took at least three wickets 15 times, and at least four six times. His lone five-for came at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as he blew New Zealand away for 148, but his most eye-catching performance would have to be the Adelaide demolition of India, where he took 4/21 to help roll them for 36.
Jofra Archer – England – Bowler – 11 Tests – 40 wickets at 27.37
With a run-up that barely ever gets much quicker than a jog and a seemingly easy action, Archer has caught batters by surprise ever since he made his Test debut at Lord’s in the second Ashes Test. That match, and much of the series, was notable for Archer’s battle with Steve Smith and while the English quick never removed the Australian, he did seem to be the one bowler who could trouble him. Archer went on to take two six-wicket hauls in his maiden Test series before picking up a five-for at Centurion later that year.
Mohammed Shami – India – Bowler – 10 Tests – 36 wickets at 19.77
Shami thrived in the WTC, thriving in an Indian bowling unit that continues to go from strength to strength. The quick was consistently among the wickets throughout the tournament, taking nine at 17.77 against the West Indies, 13 at 14.76 against South Africa and nine at 15.11 against Bangladesh. The fact he only took one five-wicket haul for the campaign says everything about the calibre of India’s attack right now, which has had success hunting as a unit. His last Test appearance came at Adelaide Oval, where he suffered a fractured forearm, but it would be a surprise if he did not feature in India’s XI in the decider against New Zealand.
Neil Wagner – New Zealand – Bowler – 7 Tests – 32 wickets at 22.5
Mohammad Rizwan probably summated Wagner best when he said: “He’s mad. He’s a different guy. His attitude is everything, his aggression is very beautiful.” The Pakistani keeper was effusive in his praise of the Kiwi bowler in late 2020 after Wagner had ignored two broken toes to bowl the most overs of any member of the attack in a New Zealand victory over Pakistan at Bay Oval. It was simply the latest example of the tough as nails quick digging deep for his team. No matter what the conditions or the circumstances, Wagner has been captain Kane Williamson’s ever willing iron man, bowling marathon spells and prising out key wickets.
Ishant Sharma – India – Bowler – 11 Tests – 36 wickets at 17.36
The WTC continued a stunning resurgence for Sharma, who has grown from reliable workhorse to inexhaustible spearhead in the second half of his career. The tall timber’s bowling average of 17.36 was only bettered by Kyle Jamieson among those to have taken more than 30 wickets and the Indian seamer did the bulk of his work in home conditions that typically favoured the spinners. Well and truly a bowler for all occasions, Sharma’s three five-wicket hauls came in three different countries, taking 5/22 against Bangladesh at home, alongside 5/43 in the West Indies and 5/68 in New Zealand.
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