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The current SENA combined Test XI, according to the ICC rankings

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

The current combined Test team from South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia, based on ICC rankings.

The methodology for the XI is simple. The top six batters (including one wicketkeeper) based on ICC rankings, the top four bowlers and the top all-rounder. Some juggling is required to make sure we get a spinner in, but aside from that rules were followed.

The team is made up of a whopping six Australians, two Kiwis, two Englishmen and a single South African. One very noticeable name is missing from the bowling ranks. Would this be your XI as well?

David Warner – Australia

ICC batting ranking: 8th (724 points)
86 Tests, 7311 runs at 48.09, 24 centuries

One of the most feared opening batters in the world, Warner’s average of 48.09 combined with a strike-rate in the 70s has made him one of the prize wickets of the last decade. In home conditions he is particularly formidable with 18 of his 24 centuries coming on Australian shores including his high score of 335 not out.

Kane Williamson – New Zealand

ICC batting ranking: 2nd (901 points)
85 Tests, 7230 runs at 53.95, 24 centuries

Williamson has never opened in his Test career. However, the demands of this hypothetical XI at times require hypothetical solutions. A remarkable average of 57.2 from the 75 Test matches he’s played batting at No.3 means he’ll be more than capable at the top of the order. Since 2013, Williamson’s average over a calendar year has only dipped below 50 once. A player of remarkable consistency.

Marnus Labuschagne – Australia

ICC batting ranking: 4th (878 points)
18 Tests, 1885 runs at 60.80, 5 centuries

A relative newbie in terms of experience for this XI, but he bats at first drop all the same. Labuschagne’s rise on the Test match scene has seen him go from relative unknown just two years ago to now being considered one of the best Test match batters in the world. No centuries in his first nine Test matches has been followed by five in his following nine. A real star of the modern game.

Joe Root – England

ICC batting ranking: 1st (903 points)
109 Tests, 9278 runs at 50.15, 23 centuries

Death, taxes and Joe Root batting at No.4. A phenomenal 2021 has seen Joe Root ascend to No.1 in the ICC Test batting rankings. If there had been any criticism of Root previously, it was that he failed to turn pretty fifties into match-winning centuries. However, six 100s in 2021 alone has seen to the end of that conversation and elevated Root’s reputation to higher than ever before.

Steve Smith – Australia

ICC batting ranking: 3rd (891 points)
77 Tests, 7540 runs at 61.80, 27 centuries

An outrageous talent who has rewritten the textbook when it comes to Test match batting. Since that fateful series against England in 2013/14 where Smith changed his technique mid-innings, he has averaged 70 in Test cricket. A modern day Bradman.

Ben Stokes – England

ICC all-rounder ranking: 2nd (348 points)
71 Tests, 4631 runs at 37.04 average, 10 centuries; 163 wickets at 31.38

Our all-rounder for this side is none other than Benjamin Stokes. A superstar of the modern game, Stokes’ ability to win games single-handedly may not be needed as much with such talent around him, but in recent years he has turned himself into a reliable force with bat and ball as opposed to the sporadic brilliance that came beforehand. An automatic pick for any team.

Quinton de Kock – South Africa (WK)

ICC batting ranking: 9th (717 points)
53 Tests, 3245 runs at 39.09, 6 centuries, 225 dismissals

Our modern day Gilchrist at seven. An average of 40 and a strike rate of 70 may be ten light on Gilchrist in both regards, but there is still not another player like QdK in the modern game. Still only 28, de Kock has many more years in the game ahead of him and many more inclusions in combined Test teams.

Pat Cummins – Australia

ICC bowling ranking: 1st (908 points)
34 Tests, 164 wickets at 21.59, BBI 6-23

Good things come to those who wait and wait we had to do for Pat Cummins’ Test career. Having made a sensational debut as an 18 year old in 2011, claiming seven wickets in a man-of-the-match performance, it would be another six years before Cummins would make another international appearance. However, he picked up where he left off, claiming the wicket of Virat Kohli in his first Test back as a 24 year-old before making his way to being the highest ranked bowler in the world.

Tim Southee – New Zealand

ICC bowling ranking: 3rd (824 points)
79 Tests, 314 wickets at 28.22, BBI 7-64

The Kiwi seamer has been one of the leading pace bowlers in the game for over a decade now and played a major role in New Zealand’s journey to winning the inaugural World Test Championship. Since the beginning of 2018, he has averaged below 22 with the ball and taken six of his 12 five-wicket hauls.

Josh Hazlewood – Australia

ICC bowling ranking: 4th (816 points)
55 Tests, 212 wickets at 25.65, BBI 6-67

The human metronome and original Ollie Robinson, Josh Hazlewood has developed a reputation as one of the most consistent performers at international level. Standing at 6’5” tall, Hazlewood regularly challenges batters with his bounce along with his unrelenting line and length.

Nathan Lyon – Australia

ICC batting ranking: 20th (668 points)
100 Tests, 399 wickets at 32.12, BBI 8-50

Despite being ranked 20th in the world, Lyon is the highest ranked spinner currently playing for a SENA nation. A long and illustrious career has seen Lyon become regarded as one of the finest finger spinners in the game, particularly given he has played half his games in Australia where twirlers have often struggled.

SENA Combined XI

David Warner

Kane Williamson

Marnus Labuschagne

Joe Root

Steve Smith

Ben Stokes

Quinton de Kock – WK

Pat Cummins

Tim Southee

Josh Hazlewood

Nathan Lyon

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