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Wisden’s World Test Championship XI

by Rohit Sankar 4 minute read

The World Test Championship (WTC) has just one contest left – the big final between India and New Zealand on June 18 at the Ageas Bowl. As the two-year cycle comes to a close, we pick a team of the WTC.

Rohit Sharma

Matches: 11, Runs: 1030, Bat avg: 64.37, 100s: 4, 50s: 2

He dominated at home, scored runs in Australia and finished as the highest scoring opening batsman despite missing six WTC Tests.

Dimuth Karunaratne

Matches: 10, Runs: 999, Bat avg: 55.5, 100s: 4, 50s: 4

In eight of the 18 innings he played in the World Test Championship, Karunaratne made fifty or more. He hit hundreds in Galle, Pallekelle and Johannesburg and finished the WTC with a bang with two hundreds in the home series against Bangladesh.

Marnus Labuschagne

Matches: 13, Runs: 1675, Bat avg: 72.8, 100s: 5, 50s: 9

Arguably the batsman of the tournament. The Australian hadn’t even played 10 Tests when thrust into the WTC as a concussion substitute. From there on, Labuschagne went on to become a mainstay in the Australian line-up with five hundreds in the WTC, averaging over 72 in 13 Tests in this period.

Steve Smith

Matches: 13, Runs: 1341, Bat avg: 63.8, 100s: 4, 50s: 7

Steve Smith continued his ridiculous run in Test cricket with two more great years. The middle-order batsman had a stunning Ashes series, scoring 774 runs in the four Tests he played with three hundreds and an average of 110.5. Despite a mini-slump towards the end of that WTC cycle, Smith sits at third in the top run-scorers chart.

Kane Williamson (c)

Matches: 9, Runs: 817, Bat avg: 58.35, 100s: 3, 50s: 1

Kane Williamson just edges Babar Azam to our XI given the impact of his hundreds and his rise to No.1 in the ICC Test rankings including breaching the 900 rating points barrier. He leads the WTC XI and slots in beneath Labuschagne and Smith in the team. Williamson’s knocks of the tournament came against West Indies and Pakistan at home when he smashed 251 and 238 in back-to-back series.

Ben Stokes

Matches: 17, Runs: 1334, Bat avg: 46.0, 100s: 4, Wickets: 34, Best: 4-49

Ben Stokes had a terrific World Test Championship, finishing as the fourth-highest run-scorer, making four centuries including a breathtaking fourth innings hundred against Australia at Headingley to lead England to one of their greatest ever wins. He also took 34 wickets in the WTC and was easily England’s most important asset during the tournament.

Rishabh Pant (wk)

Matches: 11, Runs: 662, Bat avg: 41.37, 100s: 1, Catches: 35, Stumpings: 5

Improving as a wicketkeeper, Rishabh Pant made some crucial runs in big games and proved to be India’s game-changer in their successful tour Down Under. Pant made 662 runs in 11 Tests, averaging 41.37 with a hundred and two nineties and an unbeaten 89 in the fourth innings heist in Brisbane.

Kyle Jamieson

Matches: 6, Wickets: 36, Bowl avg: 13.27, Five-wicket hauls: 4, Best: 6-48

Making his debut in the World Test Championship, Kyle Jamieson has had a brilliant start to his career, picking up 36 wickets at a mind-boggling average of 13.27 including a Test best of 11-117. Jamieson picked up four five-wicket hauls in the WTC in those six Tests.

R Ashwin

Matches: 13, Wickets: 67, Bowl avg: 20.88, Five-wicket hauls: 4, Best: 7-145

Out-bowling Nathan Lyon in Australia was perhaps the highlight of Ashwin’s World Test Championship. He finished as the highest wicket-taker among spinners, picking up his wickets at an average of 20.8. A best of 7-145 against South Africa at Vizag aside, Ashwin picked up four-plus wicket hauls against England and Australia.

Pat Cummins

Matches: 14, Wickets: 70, Bowl avg: 21.02, Five-wicket hauls: 1, Best: 5-28

Despite taking just one five-wicket haul in 14 WTC Tests, Cummins tops the charts with 70 wickets – a record that speaks of his consistency. He took four-plus wicket hauls six times and went wicketless in just two innings through this period.

Stuart Broad

Matches: 17, Wickets: 69, Bowl avg: 20.08, Five-wicket hauls: 2, Best: 6-31

His spells against David Warner in the Ashes should be the main peg of the highlights package of the World Test Championship. Stuart Broad was England’s highest wicket-taker and the second highest in the world during the WTC, ripping through West Indies and Australia on multiple occasions at home.

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