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2019 in Review

Wisden Cricket Monthly Test team of the year: Six players unlucky to miss out

by Wisden Staff 5 minute read

The Wisden Cricket Monthly Test team of the year for 2019 has been confirmed, though as with any combined XI, there were some players unlucky to miss out.

The WCM team of the year itself, voted for by a panel including David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd, Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth, and BBC Test Match Special commentator Dan Norcross, contained a host of stars of the world game, from those like Virat Kohli and Steve Smith, already established as true greats, to the likes of Marnus Labuschagne and Mayank Agarwal, making names for themselves after breakout 2019s.

The qualification cut-off period of December 3, 2018 – December 3, 2019 contained several momentous Test matches and series, including the first ever series wins by Asian sides in both Australia and South Africa, Afghanistan’s first two Test victories, and Wisden’s two Test innings of the decade.

The strong XI chosen meant many with strong claims missed out. Here are six who came close to making the cut, but were unlucky enough to receive just too few votes to not make Wisden Cricket Monthly’s Test team of the year:

Rohit Sharma (India)

7 Tests
662 runs at 73.55
3 hundreds, 1 fifty
35 per cent of the panel voted for him

Rohit Sharma’s unbeaten 63 was quietly vital in India’s victory at Melbourne which helped them take a 2-1 series lead, while his promotion to open the batting back home brought him all sorts of records. But with Tom Latham and Mayank Agarwal being ever-presents for their sides inside the qualification period, and starring home and away in that time, the opening spot was locked up, and Marnus Labuschagne finished level on votes with Rohit, pipping him to the No.3 spot on Chief Selector’s Call.

Kane Williamson (New Zealand)

9 Tests
826 runs at 75.09
3 hundreds, 4 fifties
29 per cent of the panel voted for him

Though Kane Williamson’s stats are stellar in the qualification period, it’s possible his staggering series-sealing efforts in Abu Dhabi were diminished in the minds of the panel by only just making the cut-off, and his other big scores came at home against weaker attacks or in unperilous match situations. In any case, isn’t it fitting for Williamson to end 2019 missing out on selection by the barest of margins?

Kane Williamson was unlucky to miss out on selection for the Wisden Cricket Monthly Test team of the year

Quinton de Kock (South Africa)

8 Tests
629 runs at 44.92, 2 hundreds, 4 fifties
27 catches, 2 stumpings
23 per cent of the panel voted for him

One of the few bright spots in a tough year for South Africa, Quinton de Kock averaged 50 in both of the Proteas’ home series and made a brilliant hundred amid the rubble of their demolition in India. His struggles towards the end of that series, and BJ Watling’s pre-eminence, saw him miss out this time.

Ravindra Jadeja

10 Tests
26 wickets at 32.76, strike rate 72.1
449 runs at 49.88, 5 fifites
29 per cent of the panel voted for him

Had Ravindra Jadeja won selection – and he only received two per cent fewer votes than Nathan Lyon – it would have been based more on his batting than his bowling. Jadeja made five Test half-centuries, including one in every series he played, averaging just under 50 throughout, and over 70 at home. His relative struggles with the ball – for the first time since 2014, Jadeja averaged more than 30 in a single year – and perhaps the fact that India are so good they would probably win with or without him counted against him and in the Australian’s favour.

Jason Holder

5 Tests
20 wickets at 17.25, strike rate 45.4, 1 five-wicket haul
344 runs at 49.14, 1 hundred
19 per cent of the panel voted for him

After two Tests in 2019, Jason Holder was on track not just to make Wisden Cricket Monthly’s team of the year, but captain it too, having masterminded and contributed heavily to West Indies superb series victory over England. But, after missing the final Test due to an over-rate violation, Holder didn’t pass fifty for the rest of the year as his side were hammered by India and given a scare by Afghanistan. And with there being a plethora of fearsome fast bowlers around the world, and Ben Stokes immovable from the all-rounder’s slot, Holder missed the cut.

Jason Holder made a magnificent double century against England

Josh Hazlewood

10 Tests
43 wickets at 24.53, strike rate 54.6, 1 five-wicket haul
65 runs at 9.28
19 per cent of the panel voted for him

It’s hard to fault Josh Hazlewood’s 2019. With 20 wickets at 21.85, he played a key part in Australia retaining the Ashes, and he was only slightly under par against India at the turn of the year. He is simply another victim of the brilliance of Pat Cummins, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Shami, which saw that trio all selected ahead of him.

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