Kane Williamson leads ICC Test Team of the Year (2021)
The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the Men's Test Team of the Year (2021) on Thursday. New Zealand captain Kane Williamson leads the star-studded XI. The line-up includes Indian opener Rohit Sharma, wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant, and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. Meanwhile, England Test captain Joe Root braces the middle order. Here is the list of 11 players who made the cut.
A look at the XI
Rohit and Karunaratne are the two openers
India's Rohit Sharma and Sri Lanka's Dimuth Karunaratne are the two openers in the side. The former finished 2021 as India's leading run-scorer. He smashed 906 runs from 11 Tests at a remarkable average of 47.68. The senior opener made headlines with his robust knocks overseas. Meanwhile, Karunaratne finished behind Rohit with 902 runs at 69.38. His tally included four centuries (HS: 244).
Marnus Labuschagne comes in at number three
Australia's Marnus Labuschagne comes in at number three. The top-order batter impressed with his consistency in 2021. He amassed 526 runs (most for Australia in 2021) from five Tests at an incredible average of 65.75. His tally included two tons (against India and England). Labuschagne also attained the top spot in the ICC Test Batting Rankings. The 27-year-old presently averages 56.92 in Test cricket.
Joe Root follows Labuschagne
Joe Root follows Labuschagne in the batting order. The former was the lone warrior for England in 2021. Despite the team's lackluster performance, Root continued to shatter records with the bat. Root became the only English batter to have smashed over 1,700 Test runs in a calendar year. He was the leading run-scorer in 2021, having smashed 1,708 runs at 61.00.
Captain Williamson solidifies the middle order
As per ICC's Team of the Year, Williamson is slotted at number five. The New Zealand skipper smashed 395 runs (most for NZ) from four Tests at an astonishing average of 65.83. The tally includes a double-century. Williamson, who leads the ICC XI of the Year, helped New Zealand become world champions in Test cricket. The Kiwis defeated India in the WTC final.
Middle order also includes Fawad Alam, Rishabh Pant
Senior Pakistan batter Fawad Alam comes in at number six. He is one of the few batters with three or more Test centuries in 2021 (571 runs at 57.10). India's Rishabh Pant, who follows Alam, dons the wicket-keeping gloves. The left-handed batter played impactful knocks down the order last year. His majestic 89* guided India to a series-clinching win at the Gabba, Brisbane.
Ashwin serves as an all-rounder
Ashwin, who serves as an all-rounder in ICC Test Team of the Year, scalped new heights in 2021. He remained the only bowler with over 50 Test wickets (54) in the year. Ashwin overtook Harbhajan Singh's wickets tally to become the most successful off-spinner for India in Test cricket. The former also slammed his fifth Test century against England in Chennai.
Jamieson, Afridi, and Ali are the three pacers
The fast bowling line-up includes New Zealand pacer Kyle Jamieson. He took 27 wickets from five matches at 17.51 in 2021. Jamieson was the Player of the Match in the WTC final. Pakistan seamers Shaheen Afridi and Hasan Ali accompany him. Afridi picked 47 wickets, while Ali accounted for 41 scalps. The duo averaged 17.06 and 16.07 in the format, respectively.