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The best of the rest: Wisden’s ‘Outside the top ten’ men’s ODI world XI

by Shashwat Kumar 4 minute read

Shashwat Kumar picks Wisden’s ‘Outside the top ten’ world ODI XI would look like, a team made up of the best of the rest of the global game.

The Netherlands and Zimbabwe have come agonizingly close to causing upsets in the past few days, demonstrating that there is plenty of talent outside the traditional cricketing superpowers. However, the Cricket World Cup remains restricted to 10 teams, with plenty of talent unable to make it to the global stage. How good would a combined XI from the teams not at the top table be?

All players considered are from teams outside the top 10 of the ICC ODI Rankings.


Paul Stirling (Ireland)

5172 runs @ 38.88, SR: 86.82; 43 wickets @ 45.16, ER: 4.77

One of the most belligerent openers going around, Paul Stirling has the ability to tear any bowling attack to shreds. He hasn’t quite scaled the peaks he is capable of in recent months. However, his returns in England’s domestic circuit and T20 leagues worldwide make him a shoo-in for this side.

Andy Balbirnie (C) (Ireland)

2544 runs @ 31.8, SR: 75.19

Much like Stirling, Andy Balbirnie is a pillar of Irish cricket. His serene batting style complements Stirling’s gung-ho approach excellently. Balbirnie has also scored seven ODI hundreds, demonstrating that he knows how to strap in for the long haul. With not many captaincy options, he will also lead this team.

Calum MacLeod (Scotland)

3026 runs @ 38.3, SR: 80.56

Calum MacLeod has been a consistent performer for Scotland over the years. The right-handed batter has 10 ODI centuries to his name too, and has shown the ability to switch gears seamlessly. Having made his debut in 2008, he will add experience to this side and act as the fulcrum of this batting unit.

Harry Tector (Ireland)

895 runs @ 47.1, SR: 77.35

Harry Tector has been in sublime form over the past few months. At times, he has single-handedly held the Irish batting unit together, while also being capable of hitting boundaries at will. The youngster has registered nine scores of fifty or more in his last 13 ODI innings and has cast himself as arguably the brightest batting talent to emerge from Ireland in recent years.

Sean Williams (Zimbabwe)

4,237 runs @ 35.01, SR: 82.30

A legend of Zimbabwean cricket, Sean Williams’ international career seemed like it might have come to an end when he requested to not be considered for selection during the 2021 summer. But he has returned impressively, averaging 40 in 2022, with an 86-ball hundred in Sri Lanka confirming his enduring class.

Sikandar Raza (Zimbabwe)

3626 runs @ 37.38, SR: 85.11; 69 wickets @ 44.07, ER: 4.87

Sikandar Raza has already written himself into cricketing folklore in 2022. Even in the recently concluded ODI series against India, he was brilliant, nearly masterminding an improbably victory for the hosts in the third ODI. Blessed with the ability to attack from the outset, Raza is the ideal middle-order enforcer. That he can contribute with the ball as well makes his inclusion a no-brainer.

Scott Edwards (wk) (Netherlands)

774 runs @ 38.7, SR: 85.61

Scott Edwards has often had to wage lone battles in the recent past. That, however, only illustrates how talented a batter he is. Edwards can keep wicket too and that, coupled with his batting prowess, means that he has no problems walking into this side. His leadership experience will also come in handy.

Bilal Khan (Oman)

76 wickets @ 19.21, ER: 4.73

A left-arm pacer by trade, Bilal Khan can swing the ball back into the right-hander and is usually a menace with the new ball. Since the start of March 2022, he has picked up 37 wickets in 13 matches at a staggering average of 15.62.

Fred Klaassen (Netherlands)

25 wickets @ 20.56, ER: 3.98

Fred Klaassen, owing to his English domestic commitments, has not featured as often for the Netherlands as he would like. When he has played, though, he has left a mark. Klaassen also featured prominently as the Netherlands secured their place at this year’s T20 World Cup.

Blessing Muzarabani (Zimbabwe)

46 wickets @ 29.91, ER: 5.14

The Zimbabwean unfortunately missed out on the recent series against India because of injury. However, there is no doubt about his quality. When fit, he is a genuine wicket-taker and has even played in the Pakistan Super League for the Multan Sultans.

Sandeep Lamichhane (Nepal)

69 wickets @ 15.57, ER: 4.02

The youngster has long been touted for success and that has translated into tangible returns on the ODI stage. Sandeep Lamichhane, as things stand, has the best bowling average ever for any spinner to have picked up a minimum of 50 ODI wickets. With Raza bowling off-spin, Lamichhane’s wrist-spin will add variety to this bowling attack, and offer a wicket-taking option.

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