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.
Britain’s sports minister Nigel Adams has condemned England cricket fans who have been booing Australian batsman Steve Smith, calling their behaviour “distasteful” and saying it is time for the jeering to stop.
Smith and team-mates David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have been roundly heckled during the current Ashes series for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year, for which Smith and Warner received 12-month bans and Bancroft a nine-month suspension.
Adams on Monday joined a chorus of condemnation aimed in particular at England fans who booed Smith when he returned to the crease to resume batting after being felled by a Jofra Archer bouncer that struck him in the neck during the second Test at Lord’s on Saturday.
“The vast majority of the Lord’s crowd were on their feet applauding Steve Smith after his innings but a small amount of booing from a tiny element of the crowd has made the news,” Adams told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“It’s distasteful and we have to remember that the Aussie players who got themselves into trouble have been punished and done the time.
“Smith, in particular, is a brilliant batsman and whilst of course, I don’t want him getting too many runs while he’s over here, he’s mesmerising to watch and as genuine sports fans we should be applauding him, not jeering.”
Adams, a committed fan of the game and secretary of the Lord’s and Commons Cricket Club, echoed the comments of Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, who called Saturday’s booing of Smith a “total Ashes foul”.
Smith, who retired hurt suffering concussion before resuming his innings of 92, faces a battle to be cleared to play in the third Test starting at Headingley on Thursday.
It is the season of Test cricket around the globe with the Ashes series between and England dominating all headlines over the past two weeks.
It will be the first assignment for both teams in the inaugural World Test Championship and there will be 120 valuable points at stake across the two matches.
As the two sides prepare to square off, we look at the three players from each side who will be eager to put in a big performance in the upcoming series.
The stocky off-spinner used to weigh over 140kgs at one point in his professional career but he is now all set to make his Test debut for the hosts after consistently picking up wickets in the West Indies’ first-class tournament over the past three seasons.
Cornwall finished as the highest wicket-taker in the 2018-19 first-class season in the Caribbean with 54 scalps at an average of less than 18. The 26-year-old has also impressed against England A and India A recently in both first-class and List A cricket and he will be eager to leave his mark in the upcoming series if given the chance.
Cornwall is also a handy lower-order batsman and can chip in with some important runs.
It could be a Test debut at the age of 30 for Brooks who has been handed a maiden West Indies call-up following his impressive displays for Barbados and West Indies A in recent months.
An all-rounder who can bowl some handy leg-spin, Brooks has formerly been the captain of the West Indies U19 team before progressing through the ranks in domestic cricket.
It has been an unfulfilling senior career so far for the right-hander but he now has a chance to finally make his mark at the international level and he will be desperate to do so at any cost.
The 25-year-old has always carried plenty of promise ever since he broke through as a junior cricketer, but his senior career hasn’t exactly materialised as hoped.
Hope has been able to step up finally in the ODI format over the past 18 months or so but he comes into the Test series on the back of a less-than-satisfactory World Cup and a woeful display in the recent ODI clashes against India.
Hope looked to be finally coming into his own in the Test format in 2017 when he registered tons in each innings of the Headingley clash against England to help pull off a sensational win for the Windies.
However, he has gone off the boil since with his average hovering around the 20-run mark in the past two years.
The India middle-order stalwart no longer looks the reliable batsman he once was in overseas conditions with his performances dropping drastically over the last two years or so.
Batting averages of 34 and 30 respectively in 2017 and 2018 are hardly the kind of returns India want from their vice-captain and Rahane will need to arrest this slide as soon as possible if he wants to remain a part of the Test set-up.
He did register a desperately needed half-century in the ongoing warm-up clash against the West Indies A but Rahane will know that he needs a big performance in the two-Test series in the Caribbean.
While Rahane is battling to save his place in the Test squad, Rohit Sharma will look to consolidate his after being handed an extended run in the red-ball format for India.
The India limited-overs deputy captain has made just six Test appearances since the turn of 2017 but his consistency in white-ball cricket has paved the way for another Test call-up.
Rohit averages a decent 39.63 in the format so far but his performances in overseas Tests, especially against the moving ball, have been suspect and he will need to allay those fears in the West Indies if he wants to become a permanent fixture in India’s red-ball set-up.
The Karnataka-born batsman was excellent for India in Tests in 2016 and 2017 but it has all been downhill for him ever since. He was particularly disappointing in India’s spate of overseas tours last year and did nothing of note bar his one innings of 147 in a dead-rubber clash against England at The Oval.
It always seems to be the last chance saloon for Rahul but the selectors inexplicably find a way to call him back in to the side despite his deteriorating standards and form. There is no doubt that the right-hander is one of the most magnificent batsmen to watch when in full flow but those instances have been too few and far in between over the last two years.
With Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal and a suspended Prithvi Shaw all competing for the openers’ slot, time is definitely running out for Rahul to save his spot in the side.