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2021 in Review

Revealed: Wisden Cricket Monthly’s Test team of the year for 2021

Test team of the year
by Wisden Staff 6 minute read

In the latest edition of Wisden Cricket Monthly, a panel of writers and broadcasters from around the world cast their votes to decide the men’s Test team of 2021

The WCM men’s Test team of the year returns for 2021, having taken a break in 2020 due to the lack of cricket played in the Covid-19 pandemic. The 2021 XI features only two players from the class of 2019. The 28-strong panel made their choices based on Test cricket played from December 1, 2020 to December 31, 2021.

The team is led by New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, whose side became the inaugural winners of the World Test Championship in June.

Only one player, India off-spinner R Ashwin, was voted in unanimously. Two batters, England’s Joe Root and India’s Rohit Sharma, received one shy of a full set of votes, with 96 per cent of panellists voting for each.

There was significant debate over the quicks picked for the team, with Australia’s Pat Cummins earning a place in the XI despite receiving votes from fewer than half the panel. There were 12 quicks voted for among the 29 players to receive at least one vote.

In total, players from India received 31 percent of the votes, players from New Zealand 21 percent, and players from Pakistan 18 percent. Despite equalling the record for most defeats in a calendar year, England players won 11 percent of the votes. Australia’s received 10 percent, Sri Lanka’s eight percent, with West Indies, South Africa and Bangladesh sharing the other 2.5 percent of the votes between them.

India had three players in the XI, with Rishabh Pant taking the gloves. Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand won two places each, with England and Sri Lanka taking a place each.

Pakistan’s Fawad Alam spoke of his honour at being selected in the XI. “It’s a dream come true,” he told WCM. “I didn’t think that my performances would ever warrant such a selection, as there are so many great players around the world. As soon as I found out, I was so excited and honoured and I wanted to tell everyone, but then I thought, ‘No I will surprise them and let them find out for themselves when the team is officially announced’. I know that my father will be especially delighted and very proud and I can’t wait to see his reaction when he finds out. It makes me emotional, and reminds me that in life you have to be patient and realise that everything happens for a reason and at the right time, and whatever happens is for the best.”

The panel was made up of Andrew Alderson, Lawrence Booth, Adam Collins, Mel Farell, Daniel Gallan, Ben Gardner, Jo Harman, Taha Hashim, Jon Hotten, Mohammad Isam, Jonathan Liew, David Lloyd, Will Macpherson, Neil Manthorp, Suresh Menon, Andrew Miller, Patrick Noone, Daniel Norcross, Scott Oliver, Yas Rana, Saj Sadiq, Aadya Sharma, Rob Smyth, John Stern, Machel St Patrick Hewitt, Phil Walker, James Wallace, and Isabelle Westbury.

In issue 52 of WCM, the magazine also named its women’s cross-format XI for 2021, as well as picking out a coach of the year.

Wisden Cricket Monthly’s Test team of the year for 2021: Rohit Sharma, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kane Williamson (c), Joe Root, Marnus Labuschagne, Fawad Alam, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Kyle Jamieson, Pat Cummins, Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Get three issues of Wisden Cricket Monthly for just £4.99. Link here.

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