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Wisden’s current world Test XI

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 29: New Zealand captain Kane Williamson shakes hands with England captain Joe Root ahead of day 1 of the second Test match between New Zealand and England at Seddon Park on November 29, 2019 in Hamilton, New Zealand
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

A select Wisden panel has picked a world Test XI, based on both current form and their overall record.

The aim was to create a team that would be successful anywhere in the world, and it was up to the panel to decide on the balance of the side, as well as the batting order.

The panelists were managing editor of Wisden.com Ben Gardner, Wisden.com features writer Taha Hashim, and Wisden India editor Aadya Sharma.

After a lengthy discussion, here’s the team they finally agreed upon – Wisden’s current world Test XI:

1. Rohit Sharma (India)

43 matches, 3,047 runs @ 46.87, 8 100s, HS 212

BG: Rohit’s a shoo-in after his successful series in England. He’s got the record and he’s got the technique. It would be interesting to know whether he would have got in before his bumper series in England, though. At that point he’d looked promising in Australia and had all the home runs, but would we have felt then that he was nailed on? I don’t know.

TH: One of the things I find remarkable about Rohit is that he’d done this [opening the batting] in ODI cricket for such a long time and it was only in 2019 that he finally got the gig.

AS: He’s done really well over the last year or so. The most important bit has been how he has improved overseas because that has always been a concern for him. He has been doing well at home, but to do well in Australia and then in England seals the deal for me.

2. Marnus Labuschagne (Australia)

18 matches, 1,885 runs @ 60.80, 5 100s, HS 215

TH: I went for Marnus just because I was trying to fit in all of those middle-order guys and he averages [more than] 70 at number three, beyond the already incredible average of 60, and I had to get him in somewhere. The only argument I had with myself is that he hasn’t played a lot of Test cricket away from home – Australia haven’t played an away Test since the 2019 Ashes but, then again, he was very good in that series.

3. Joe Root (England)

101 matches, 9,278 runs @ 50.15, 23 100s, HS 254

TH: He’s had a phenomenal year so he’s in form and he’s also got the career record to tell us that this isn’t just a one-off.

4. Steve Smith (Australia)

77 matches, 7,540 runs @ 61.80, 27 100s, HS 239

BG: Smith just has to get in this team.

5. Kane Williamson (New Zealand) – (c)

85 matches, 7,230 runs @ 53.95, 24 100s, HS 251

TH: He has the record and the big thing he’s added to the CV this year: he’s captained the side that won the World Test Championship. With The Big Four, it felt justified to leave Kohli out because it’s been two years since his last century, but with the other three, I couldn’t look past them. Williamson had that bumper home summer last year as well, where New Zealand won those series to get into the [WTC] final. He’s got to be in there.

Watch the full discussion here:

6. Mohammad Rizwan (Pakistan) – (wk)

17 matches, 914 runs @ 41.54, 1 100, HS 115*

BG: I picked Mohammad Rizwan because you can just rely on him in any situation. He’ll score whatever type of runs you need and he’s very good technically. This is partly based on his white-ball form but the manner in which he’s scored his white-ball runs suggests that he is a man for all situations. The one thing that works against Rizwan is the fact that he’s only played 17 Tests, but he does average 42 across those matches which is pretty good.

AS: It’s Rizwan for me. Rishabh Pant is obviously a great batsman but the only thing that comes with him is that doubt over his consistency. Rizwan has great technique and could do really well across conditions, across attacks.

7. Ravindra Jadeja (India)

56 matches, 227 wickets @ 24.96, 9 five-fors, BBI: 7-48 | 2,145 runs @ 34.04, 1 100, HS 100*

AS: His evolution as a cricketer in the last two or three years, particularly as a lower-order batsman who can bring the team up when the chips are down – he’s done really well.

TH: I like the idea of Jadeja at seven, especially because that gives you two spinners.

8. Ravichandran Ashwin (India)

79 matches, 413 wickets @ 24.56, 30 five-fors, BBI: 7-59

AS: The leader of all leaders. He’s done so well recently and it seems like he continues to get better. There was always this question mark over his overseas record. But the way he bowled in Australia showed he’s the complete bowler now. It was a pity we didn’t see that in England.

9. Pat Cummins (Australia)

34 matches, 164 wickets @ 21.59, 5 five-fors, BBI: 6-23

BG: He’s almost like Glenn McGrath but a bit quicker. He doesn’t depend on seam movement or swing, he just recognises that if you’re quick enough and honing in on that top-of-off area, you can contribute wherever.

10. James Anderson (England)

166 matches, 632 wickets @ 26.62, 31 five-fors, BBI: 7-42

AS: To see him bowl the way he did in India made me think, ‘how can a bowler be so good at this age?!’. He continues to be one of the best bowlers in the world and his numbers over the last one-and-a-half years speak for themselves.

BG: Anderson was incredible in India and Sri Lanka. A fast-medium bowler shouldn’t be as incisive as he was on those flat pitches in the subcontinent.

11. Jasprit Bumrah (India)

24 matches, 101 wickets @ 22.79, 6 five-fors, BBI: 6-27

BG: Bumrah is such an attacking weapon. He doesn’t go for many runs and he can change the game in an instant by taking the pitch completely out of the equation. Everything about him is so unusual and so effective. He’s done it in lots of different places and for a reasonable amount of time now, too.

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