What would a world XI made up of players from 11 different cricket nations look like?
Now you don’t need to wonder. We’ve assembled an all-star team containing one player each from England, New Zealand, India, Australia, Pakistan, West Indies, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Nepal.
We’ve had to make some sacrifices to create the most balanced team – but there’s no doubt that all 11 are masters of their respective trades.
South Africa – Quinton de Kock (wk)
The baby-faced gloveman from South Africa makes the list ahead of the likes of MS Dhoni, Jos Buttler, and Alex Carey. De Kock’s consistent ventures with the bat and a firm pair of hands have drawn comparisons to the Aussie great Adam Gilchrist.
The 26-year-old holds the record for taking the fewest (20) number of games to reach five ODI centuries.
Pakistan – Babar Azam
De Kock is joined by the second player on the above-mentioned list. Babar Azam has proved to be one of the most dependable No3 batsmen in the world and has provided Pakistan solidity in the top-order.
The technically gifted batsman has been compared to India great Virat Kohli due to the pair’s similar playing style. Azam’s strokeplay is a joy to watch and the future appears bright for the 24-year-old.
New Zealand – Kane Williamson (c)
Between a defeat in the final of the U19 World Cup over a decade ago and a defeat in the final of the senior World Cup this year, Kane Williamson has blossomed into a world-class batsman, great captain, and a lovable cricketer.
The 30-year-old will go down as a modern-day great in the Kiwis’ cricketing books after playing a captain’s role in New Zealand’s silver medal campaign in England this summer.
Australia – Steve Smith
Arguably now the best Test batsman to have ever played the game apart from Don Bradman, Steve Smith’s story is filled with chapters of redeption. Initially selected as a spinner who could bat a bit, Smith faced instant criticism but answered the doubters with the willow.
A one-year ban following the ball-tampering incident against South Africa last year has not prevented him from toying with England in the Ashes, a Test series that has always been his favourite.
Bangladesh – Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib Al Hasan will retire as the best player in Bangladeshi cricketing history. A left-arm orthodox when he handles the ball and southpaw when he wields the bat, Shakib has been one of the most consistent performers of the modern era.
The Moyna-born all-rounder was among the top-three highest run-getters with 606 runs in the recently-concluded World Cup and claimed 11 wickets in the process.
Sri Lanka – Angelo Mathews
One of the most prominent figures of the island nation, Angelo Mathews is best known for his versatility across the batting order and ability to function as a utility bowler in the middle-overs.
He played a key role in Sri Lanka’s 2011 World Cup campaign in which they finished runners-up and was one of their most consistent players during the era of decline that followed.
West Indies – Andre Russell
In an era of hard-hitting West Indies all-rounders, Andre Russell stands out as probably the most devastating. The Caribbean star has impressed in all formats but has thrived in the shortest.
The fast bowler has rattled top-class batting line-ups and provided his team the breakthrough on several occasions. With the bat, he has the qualities of a top-notch finisher and is capable of sending the ball sailing over the ropes at will.
England – Jofra Archer
The lanky Caribbean-born England pacer has beaten the likes of Chris Woakes, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root and Ben Stokes to claim the lone slot in our line-up.
Archer’s fiery pace tormented top batsman at the World Cup, breaking several stumps in the process, and his introduction to Tests at Lord’s saw him bounce Smith out of the game. The 24-year-old has already etched his name into English cricketing history, holding his nerve in the Super Over to help secure the country their first-ever World Cup.
Afghanistan – Rashid Khan
The face of modern spin bowling, Rashid Khan has made a name for himself at the tender age of 18. Now 20, the Afghanistan tyro and IPL star is best known for the variation he brings to his deliveries which makes them highly unpredictable.
The 20-year-old has claimed 75 wickets in 38 international T20 games at a spectacular average of 11.52. Rashid is arguably the most talented cricketer the minnow nation has produced so far and can only get better going forward.
India – Jasprit Bumrah
Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah has a firm claim over being the best death bowler in the world. The 25-year-old has performed consistently in the domestic circuit and internationally across all formats.
Inch-perfect yorkers, pace variation, and reverse swingers are some of the arrows in his quiver that makes him unplayable at the death. Bumrah was the best player in the Indian team that finished on top of the table in the 2019 World Cup.
Nepal – Sandeep Lamichhane
Sandeep Lamichhane has received praise from none other his idol Shane Warne, whom he bowls very similarly to. That should tell you how good he is. At 17, the Nepali became the first player from his nation to be bought at an IPL auction, for $31,000 by Delhi Daredevils.
He then helped drag Nepal into the World Cup Qualifier and though he could not take them all the way to this summer’s World Cup in England, the precocious leg-spinner – now 19 – has the world at his feet.
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